Officials hoping to reopen Highway 1 in the Fraser Valley Thursday


The B.C. government is aiming to have the flood-affected portion of Highway 1 through the Fraser Valley re-opened "at some point" on Thursday, according to Transportation Minister Rob Fleming.

The minister said crews have been working hard to clear debris off the busy highway, which was hit by both flooding and landslides when an atmospheric river delivered a month's worth of rain to the Lower Mainland in less than 48 hours.

"We're pleased to report that some critical temporary repairs are now completed and water levels continue to recede," Fleming said Wednesday.

"We know that people in this region need to travel around – this will provide significant relief."

The reopening will affect the stretch of Highway 1 between Abbotsford and Chilliwack, but other parts remain closed or restricted to essential travel.

Fleming also addressed the province's decision to limit Highway 7 to essential travel between Mission and Hope on Tuesday evening, acknowledging the impact it's had on people living in the area.

That restriction was necessary because trucks moving essential goods were "hopelessly congested" on the highway, the minister said.

"This was not a decision that was taken lightly but we needed to unblook that corridor so that goods could begin to move," he said.

The Highway 7 restriction will remain in place until the government can assess the impact of reopening Highway 1 and of the next storms heading for the Lower Mainland this week, Fleming added.

Essential travel refers to everything from responding to emergencies, to moving essential personal, livestock or agricultural products, to exercising an Aboriginal treaty right.

- with files from CTV -