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Snowshed at Three Valley Gap not the solution to frequent Trans-Canada closures: Transportation Ministry

Semi trucks lined up along the Trans Canada Highway in Sicamous. Don W Ferguson

SICAMOUS – When Nicoline Beglinger  left her home in Revelstoke Sunday she expected to return the next day. Wednesday morning Beglinger was among those travelers still waiting for the Trans-Canada Highway to reopen between Craigellachie and Revelstoke.

Beglinger was dropping her daughter off in Kelowna to catch a flight and planned to drive back to Revelstoke Monday. However, the flight was delayed and when she tried to drive back Tuesday she found the Trans-Canada Highway closed.

Read More: Sicamous power outages make situation worse during Trans-Canada closure

The road was closed late Monday night due to a high avalanche hazard and didn’t reopen till midday Wednesday leaving many travelers, including Beglinger, stuck. It comes on the heels of another Trans-Canada closure west of Revelstoke. The highway was closed overnight Sunday for the same reason, a high avalanche hazard. Revelstoke RCMP say they got a call SUnday night about a vehicle getting stuck in an avalanche on the Trans-Canada Highway in the Three Valley Gap area. The highway reopened late Monday morning after avalanche control work was done only to close again that night.

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Read More: Avalanche hazard closes Trans-Canada west of Revelstoke

Beglinger’s solution: install a snowshed at Three Valley Gap.

“It wouldn’t really take much to make that safer. It would keep it open in the winter and we wouldn’t have this,” said Beglinger Wednesday morning as she looked at the line of vehicles behind her waiting for the highway to reopen.

But the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says a snowshed is not feasible at Three Valley Gap.

“The bedrock will not [adequately] support the size of snowshed that would be required at this site to address avalanche and rockfall hazards,” wrote a ministry spokesperson in an emailed statement.

The ministry says it will keep looking at options to improve reliability and safety.

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