Hard work went into reopening Highway 3 near Keremeos

Crews worked long hours to fill in low lying areas so highway could reopen

Crews worked long hours to push back the might Similkameen River so Highway 3, about 14 kilometers west of Keremeos, could be reopened.

Water started coming across the highway near Riverside RV Park during the early hours of Tuesday, May 8. By that afternoon a front end loader was pulling debris from the side of the highway to create a berm structure.

The berm held for awhile but failed overnight. By the morning commute motorists were driving through foot-high water at points. The highway was closed Wednesday around 8:30 p.m.

Related: UPDATE: Highway 3 near Keremeos open

Crews worked all day Thursday to build up the low lying areas. At one point it was thought the road might open that evening, but there were concerns the berms would not hold again.

Crews were back at Friday and by mid-morning the road was dry and fully opened.

A Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure told the Review the situation is precarious where the highway is close to the river in the low lying areas. The spokesperson suggested motorists check DriveBC regularly and be prepared for the possibility of more road closures if the Similkameen River rises again.

Warm weather the next few days is expected and with it will be the melting of more of the snowpack. The river is expected to rise quickly in the next few days.

Related: Aerial footage shows flooding in the Lower Similkameen

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