Slope at slide site still on the move

By Andrea Peacock
Special to OsoyoosToday


A mountain of rock is still on the move at the site of a slide that last week closed Hwy. 97 north of Summerland.

“We’re seeing a pretty continuous rate of movement,” said Paula Cousins, deputy director for the Southern Interior.

Three millimetres of movement was measured Monday morning at the south end of the slide.

Crews are drilling and blasting in an effort to remove the unstable section, said Mike Dowdle, geotechnical engineer.

“We’re trying to speed up the process by removing the section that’s moving . . . to be able to clean it up,” he said. “We’re trying to remove the material that’s in front of this crack that’s moving.”

Monday morning, a new detour opened next to Hwy. 97, below the slide.

The ministry brought in around 4,000 cubic metres of material to build a ramp to connect the 900-metre Callan Road detour to the south end of the highway.

“We had crews working around the clock to get this constructed,” said Ms. Cousins. “We also made changes to the intersection on the north end . . .  to make sure commercial vehicles could navigate the route.”

As of Monday afternoon, the detour was working well for both light vehicles and commercial trucks, she said.

Callan Road will be blocked periodically for 45 minutes at a time to allow for blasting.

Those stoppages will not occur between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. or 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

“Moving forward, we’ll try to notify the public of anticipated blast times whenever possible,” said Ms. Cousins.

Since Callan Road is located below the slide site, crews have installed a wall of concrete blocks to ensure rocks do not fall onto the road, said Ms. Cousins.

Commercial vehicles exceeding 3.8 metres in width are only permitted on the detour between midnight and 5 a.m.

Forest service road detours are no longer being maintained, and travel on those routes is discouraged for safety reasons.

Osoyoos residents travelling to Kelowna but wishing to avoid the detour can travel Hwy. 33 north of Rock Creek.

Andrea Peacock is a reporter with the Kelowna Daily Courier.

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