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Rockslide near Summerland closes Highway 97 for Labour Day long weekend

A geotechnical assessment has identified a risk of further rockfall
Highway 97 near Summerland will not be open by the Labour Day long weekend after it was determined further rockfall could take place. (Rob Ellingsen)

Highway 97 north of Summerland will not open before the Labour Day long weekend as an aerial geotechnical assessment has identified a risk of further rockfall, said the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure on Wednesday (MoTI).

Geotechnical engineers are completing a thorough investigation of the area, which will determine a timeline for reopening. A detailed assessment and development of remediation options is anticipated to take several days, said MoTI.

The highway that connects South Okanagan to Central Okanagan has been closed since Monday’s rock slide.

The recommended alternate routes are highways 97C, 5A, 3 or 33. The back route detours are not recommended as an alternate route, particularly during darkness and without a full tank of gas, food and water.

The ministry is working with partners to prepare safe, reliable detour routes for the public by grading them and providing directional signage.

On Wednesday, graders were working on the 201 Forest Service Road route from Penticton to Kelowna.

“The ministry recognizes the inconvenience to travellers and people’s patience is appreciated as work continues to reopen the highway as soon as safely possible,” said the Ministry in their press release.

This week Penticton MLA Dan Ashton is pushing for better messaging from DriveBC and the Ministry of Transportation than just another update will take place in a few hours.

Ashton is also asking to properly maintain the 201 for an alternative route during rock slides along Highway 97.

READ MORE: Penticton MLA pushes for better alternative detour

Four properties below the slide have been put on evacuation alert due to the threat of a rockslide.

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Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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