December 10, 2023

Once to twice a week throughout most of winter is how many times Highway 97 in the Okanagan will be temporarily closed for rockslide blasting near Summerland.

The Ministry of Transportation says the closures will happen with plenty of notice, and usually from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., when they do occur.

Click to play video: '3,000 cubic metres of rock closes Highway 97 between Summerland and Peachland'

3,000 cubic metres of rock closes Highway 97 between Summerland and Peachland

“The schedule is contingent on ground conditions which are revealed by previous blasts,” said the ministry, “and each blast requires varying degrees of preparation, so blasts may not occur on the same day each week.”

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The highway has undergone many closures for clearing and blasting after the rockslide on Aug. 28 initially closed the road for two weeks.

The four-lane road was first reopened to alternating traffic in one lane before highway officials opened one lane in each direction.

Those two lanes will remain open throughout winter, though detour routes are available as well.

Click to play video: 'No plans for a second crossing in Kelowna'

No plans for a second crossing in Kelowna

“The intent of the blasting operations is to remove slide material which could otherwise impact the roadway,” said the ministry. After the slide material is removed, stabilization operations, which will include the installation of bolts and rock anchors, will be carried out throughout the winter.”

Motorists are asked to use caution in the rockslide area, and that it may be closed with limited notice if the area is suddenly deemed unsafe.

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“The site will be at greater likelihood of closure should heavy rainfall occur,” said the ministry.


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