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Highway 97 closed for culvert installation as Sportsmens Bowl, flood threat continues

Click to play video: '‘We’re the little community that doesn’t exist’: Flood frustrations in Willowbrook, B.C.' ‘We’re the little community that doesn’t exist’: Flood frustrations in Willowbrook, B.C.
‘We’re the little community that doesn’t exist’: Flood frustrations in Willowbrook, B.C – Apr 24, 2018

The province said it has temporarily closed Highway 97 10 km north of Oliver on Tuesday to allow crews to install culverts.

“These culverts will help protect the highway should water flows continue to increase,” the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said in a statement.

“Ministry staff have been monitoring this area closely, doing everything possible to keep the water contained and Sportsmens Bowl Road and Highway 97 open.”

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen said it will also be installing flood mitigation infrastructure in the area.

“Over 300 meters of rock gabion wire baskets will be installed at the lower end of Sportsmens Bowl Road to maintain and direct the water flow through culverts underneath Highway 97,” the regional district said in a statement.

“Crews are also deploying tiger dams and sandbags to targeted properties on Jones Road [in Willowbrok], Highway 97 and the upper portion of Sportsmens Bowl Road.”
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READ MORE: Inflatable dams at Sportsmens Bowl to heed flood waters

DriveBC said the highway is expected to be closed from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. each day until Wednesday.

Drivers can use Park Rill and Island Roads to detour around the closure.

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The work comes as 12 properties on Sportsmens Bowl Road remain under a mandatory evacuation order due to flooding.

Meanwhile, a public information session about flooding in the Park Rill Creek Watershed, including the Oliver and Willowbrook areas, is planned for Wednesday evening.

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READ MORE: Local government official warns of potential ‘catastrophic failure’ of culvert system in rural Oliver

A statement from the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen said “residents can expect to receive updates on the flooding, information on the protection plan for Park Rill Creek watershed [and] information on the different support agencies, such as Emergency Social Services (ESS) and Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA).”

The meeting is set to take place at 6:30 p.m. at the Oliver Community Centre, which is located at 6359 Park Drive in Oliver.

– with files from Shelby Thom

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