July 10, 2019 5:10 pm
Updated: July 10, 2019 8:59 pm

Road repairs start as Chilcotin flood waters begin to recede: Ministry of Transportation

WATCH: Flood warning issued for the Chilcotin River and tributaries

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The Ministry of Transportation says it is gearing up to repair flood-damaged roads in the Chilcotin area.

The Chilcotin River and a variety of tributaries have been inundated with about 100 millimetres of rain in less than a week, prompting what the province has called a “one-in-200-year flood event.”

That prompted the closure of half a dozen roads in the area around Big Creek, stranding at least 50 residents.

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Todd Hubner, Cariboo district manager for the Ministry of Transportation, said the rain has let up enough that water levels are finally starting to recede, allowing work to begin.

READ MORE: ‘Nobody’s lifted a finger’: Frustrated Chilcotin residents appeal for help amid ‘200-year flood’

“Things are looking positive,” Hubner said. “The rain for the most part has stopped and the long-range forecast looks promising. We’re confident this all be behind us in a couple of weeks.”

The BC River Forecast Centre says another five millimetres of rain were expected Wednesday, with water levels expected to continue receding throughout the rest of the week.

Some work has begun on some of the roads, Hubner added, while others will have to wait as they’re still underwater.

Hubner could not provide a clear timeline for when all the repair work will be completed.

WATCH: Worst flooding in 200 years along Chilcotin River and tributaries

A spokesperson for the Cariboo Regional District says about 20 ranchers have reported submerged hay fields and damage to outbuildings after the Chilcotin system burst its banks following heavy rains.

Emily Epp says the regional district and other agencies are taking part in a flyover of the region Wednesday in hopes of determining the extent of the flooding.

Epp said the district expects to hear from more property owners, because the flood-stricken region covers hundreds of kilometres and includes the community of Big Creek, the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation and the Nemaiah Valley.

Interior Health has issued a water advisory for the area, telling residents to beware of flood contaminated water. It says anyone unsure about the safety of their water supply should drink bottled water.

READ MORE: Grand Forks resident still recovering from historic 2018 flood

The BC River Forecast Centre has maintained a flood warning for the Chilcotin River below Big Creek, and tributaries except for the Chilko River near Redstone and Big Creek above Groundhog Creek.

Those two tributaries have now been downgraded to high streamflow advisories.

The Cariboo Regional District has activated its Emergency Operations Centre and is asking residents who are affected by the floods to call 1-866-759-4977.

Affected roads in the area include:

  • Witte Road, 65 kilometres south of Alexis Creek (repair work underway)
  • Farwell Canyon Road at the 54-kilometre mark
  • Taseko Lake Road at Stone Reserve
  • Sky Ranch Road at Farwell Canyon Road
  • Newton Whitewater at Siwash Bridge
  • Word Creek Road at Gaspard Bridge

With files from the Canadian Press. 

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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