Repairs coming for flood damaged sections of the Coquihalla Highway

Coquihall highwy3

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is moving forward on permanent repairs to the Coquihalla (Highway 5), marking another milestone in the province's recovery following the significant flooding event in November 2021.

"Our crews worked hard to get the Coquihalla reopened after the severe flooding event and were able to do so in short order about a month after the storm. The pace of reconstruction to get the Coquihalla back open to traffic was impressive and beyond anything we could have imagined," said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. "We are excited to move forward on the permanent reconstruction of this key route. We will be making our infrastructure more resilient to climate change and future weather events so it remains reliable, safe and efficient for people and as our key goods movement corridor for now and for years to come."

The ministry has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to select contractors who qualified through the Highway Reinstatement Program request for qualifications (RFQ) process, inviting these companies to take part in the competitive selection process to design and construct permanent repairs needed at three sites:

* Bottletop Bridges, 50 kilometres south of Merritt

* Juliet Bridges, three kilometres south of Bottletop

* Jessica Bridges, 48 kilometres south of Juliet

This will return the Coquihalla in these areas to the previous full four-lane capacity. The sites will be repaired to withstand future extreme weather events as part of the Province's commitment to building back better to ensure infrastructure is equipped to endure the effects of climate change.

The RFP for the repair project closes in mid-April with the contract expected to be awarded in late April or early May. Construction is expected to begin in summer and be completed by the end of this year.

The ministry will also be proceeding in the coming months with the repair of the Othello washout area 10 kilometres east of Hope. A tender package will be prepared and made available for contractors. The ministry is focused on permanent repair efforts on these four Coquihalla sites as a first priority, as they have been operating with temporary repairs following November's flooding.

The ministry is also working toward making permanent repairs to the other flood-damaged highways in B.C., including Highway 1 through the Fraser Canyon and Highway 8 in the Nicola Valley. More information on those projects will be shared in the coming weeks.

All efforts will be made to minimize traffic disruptions during peak travel and to complete work overnight where possible. Traffic delays are expected throughout construction, including periods of single-lane alternating traffic and short, intermittent full closures. Advance notice of any traffic disruptions will be provided. Updates will be available online at DriveBC.ca and on Twitter at @DriveBC.

Drivers are reminded that B.C.'s winter-tire and chain-up regulations are in effect on the Coquihalla Highway until April 30. Other safety tips for winter driving include travelling with a full tank of gas, food and water, and warm clothes.

Quick Facts:

* Highway 5 was closed to regular vehicle traffic on Nov. 14, 2021, due to damage caused by an atmospheric river event.

* Highway 5 opened to commercial vehicle traffic on Dec. 20, 2021.

* Highway 5 opened to all traffic on Jan. 19, 2022.

* Flooding and washouts associated with the November rain event damaged more than 20 sites along 130 kilometres of the Coquihalla Highway between Hope and Merritt. This included seven bridges where spans completely collapsed or were otherwise heavily damaged.

* More than 300 workers using 200 pieces of equipment moved more than 400,000 cubic metres of gravel, rock and other material to repair and reopen Highway 5 to commercial vehicle traffic in 35 days.

Learn More:

For updated highway information, visit: DriveBC.ca (http://www.drivebc.ca/)