Coquihalla Canyon Park, Othello Tunnels set to reopen 2.5 years after flood

Click to play video: 'Coquihalla Canyon Park and Othello Tunnels to partially re-open in July'
Coquihalla Canyon Park and Othello Tunnels to partially re-open in July
The B.C. government says the Coquihalla Canyon Park and its popular Othello Tunnels will partially re-open in July after being closed by the 2021 atmospheric river flooding. Angela Jung reports – Jun 20, 2024

The Coquihalla Canyon Park is set to reopen to the public this summer, two-and-a-half years after being significantly damaged in the November 2021 storm and flood.

The flood damaged more than 30 sites at the park, including the historic Othello Tunnels. Bridge foundations were also damaged and stability issues above the tunnels were affected by the flood.

Access roads and trails were also eroded.

On Thursday, the B.C. government announced enough restoration and repair work has been completed to reopen part of the park, which will be in mid-July.

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B.C. outlines flood and wildfire protection methods

“Crews have nearly finished removing loose or unstable soil, rocks and vegetation along the canyon slopes and tunnels, and steel bars have been grouted into place to help stabilize rocks,” Ministry of Environment staff said in a release.

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“Pinned mesh will be added to part of the ceiling and walls of the first tunnel. Sprayed concrete will be applied wherever the rock is significantly deteriorated.”

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Park visitors will be allowed to access the park from the parking lot to the end of the second tunnel.

Mesh has also been installed to reduce the risk of falling debris for the trail next to the tunnels as well.

The exact reopening date has not been released yet, but the ministry said it will be posted on BC Parks’ social media pages “in the coming weeks.”

The total cost of the project is around $4.5 million and is supported through Canada’s Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements.

BC Parks also worked with local First Nations and archeology and cultural heritage specialists to avoid impacts on archeological and heritage values during construction.

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