February 10, 2019 4:06 pm
Updated: February 11, 2019 1:02 pm

Update: Callan Road rockslide detour opens Monday morning

A new detour around the Summerland rockslide is opening. Jules Knox reports.

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The BC Ministry of Transportation confirms the Callan Road detour will open Monday morning after a series of rockslides shut down Highway 97 in both directions north of Summerland on Feb 2.

The detour, which will be open to the travelling public as of 5:00 a.m., will provide a quicker option for commuters to get between Penticton and Kelowna.

“This 900-metre detour will accommodate both light vehicles and commercial vehicles. The speed limit along the detour route is 30 km/h. Drivers are reminded they should have good winter tires, obey the speed limit and drive with caution,” said a statement issued on Sunday.

“While this detour is active, there will be occasional periodic stoppages to allow for blasting work. These stoppages will not occur between the hours of 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.”

Until now, drivers were forced to take lengthy forest service road alternate routes, one of which was reported to be in poor condition.

The transportation ministry said those alternative routes are “no longer necessary and maintenance of these routes will not continue.”

The Callan Road bypass will provide a two-lane detour around the slide zone between Summerland and Peachland. It should add around 5-10 minutes to the pre-slide commute.

Officials said crews built a two-lane connection from Callan Road up to Highway 97 on the south side of the slide.

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The quicker detour will accommodate commercial vehicles. Trucking companies have expressed frustration with the lengthy highway detours that add approximately five hours to a round-trip journey from Penticton to Kelowna.

“Extensive work and geotechnical assessments will continue on the slope above Highway 97 and ministry staff will continue to work as hard as possible to have the highway reopened to traffic as soon as it is safe to do so,” said the statement.

Highway 97 remains closed with no estimated time for reopening.

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