BRIDAL FALLS (NEWS 1130) – Some bad news for drivers who were hoping Highway 1 in the Fraser Valley would be fully re-opened by now: One eastbound lane is still closed, as crews continue clearing the leftover debris from last week’s mudslides and bad weather.
“Work continues to rebuild shoulders and clear the large amount of debris along the highway,” says Maziar Kazemi, area manager with the Ministry of Transportation, who adds says the weather is a factor, with the rain making for challenging conditions.
“We have to monitor streamflow and ensure that we have spotters on site, ensuring that the streams are clear of debris.”
Kazemi says the streams are being monitored 24 hours a day. “We’re actively monitoring the two creeks that run under our highway. At this point, they are flowing through our drainage features — through our culverts. That’s something we’re going to have to continue to monitor overnight so were are no blockages.”
There’s no ruling out the possibility that the highway could be closed again this season due to similar conditions. Kazemi says since they can’t predict when incidents like those mudslides might happen, all they can do is keep an eye on conditions.
“Anytime we have high streamflow advisories, that’s what our maintenance contractors are doing during that time — they’re checking the culverts and they’re ensuring they’re removing any blockages to ensure that the water can pass freely.”
He is urging everyone to slow down and remember 50km/h construction speed zones are in effect. “Folks need to drive to the conditions and they need to ensure that they are watching for flaggers and watching for traffic control personnel, and just using caution as they go through the detour.”
“At this point, the lanes are open and we are deeming it safe for crews to continue working and for traffic to flow through. But if anything changes, the spotters are going to be key to identifying that and if the highway needs to be closed for any reason, it will. At this point, we’re not anticipating that, but we do have to continue to monitor the conditions.”
No one was hurt when the mudslides happened early Thursday morning. Kazemi says at the time, conditions were different from what they are now.
“We had a pineapple express coming through, with higher than average temperatures, high precipitation, and a lot of snowmelt. Those conditions were factors in the slippage and some debris up on the mountainside.”
“At this point, there is a lot of work that we still need to do. So, I can’t advise that we’re going to be opening today, at this point,” he adds.