Mudslide hampers Trans-Canada traffic near Banff
BANFF, Alta. – The Trans-Canada Highway near Banff, Alta., has been reopened after a mudslide Friday afternoon.
No one was injured when the mudslide happened about two kilometres west of the Mount Norquay turnoff.
Parks Canada spokesman Mark Merchant says that earlier Saturday morning, crews were able to reopen both eastbound and westbound lanes.
Merchant says traffic volumes will be heavy as a huge backlog of vehicles moves through the area.
He says motorists are being asked to be patient and drive with caution and obey the posted speed limits.
All hotels in nearby Canmore were fully occupied by stranded motorists but many people opted to stay in their vehicles and wait for the mess to be cleared.
Earlier in the day, Peter Poole at the Juniper Hotel described the unusual sight of an empty Trans-Canada Highway.
“It’s remarkably quiet and beautiful as the sun washes over the patio and people who are waiting (for the road to open) are coming in and sitting down on the patio and enjoying the sunshine,” he said.
Poole said it rained Thursday night and Friday, including a rather heavy downpour.
“We are trying to call as many people as possible to say, ‘can we help you? If you’re stuck on the other side of the landslide, if you’re cancelling, we want to help you out by calling another hotel for you,’ ” Poole said.
“If you’re able to get here, we want to keep the dining room open for you, and if you come in, you can probably enjoy a mudslide (drink) in the hot tub.”
A week ago, a landslide roared down on the tiny community north of Nelson in southeast British Columbia.
Two people have been confirmed dead and two others are still missing. The search for them has been called off.
Another landslide that hit four days later in the town of Fairmont Hot Springs, 80 kilometres from the Johnsons Creek slide, did not injure anyone but left a lot of campers stranded until a road could be repaired.