Highway 33 closure continues outside of Kelowna

Click to play video: 'Highway 33 closed for repairs' Highway 33 closed for repairs
Highway 33 closed for repairs – Jun 11, 2020

Highway 33 in B.C.’s Southern Interior has been closed temporarily as crews begin washout repairs.

The closure is between Three Forks Road and Philpott Road, about 10 kilometres east of Kelowna, and spans a stretch of 2.7 kilometres.

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“Geotechnical staff assessed the site and provided recommendations for repairs to the site, which began yesterday,” said the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

The cause appears to be groundwater saturating the ground beneath the road, resulting in the fill and road surface washing out. We are anticipating 3-4 days to complete the work, depending on the weather.”

The ministry said crews are working day and night at the site to restore highway access.

“Reconstructing the highway requires that we place geotextile fabric and build up layers of rock to provide stability, prior to placing standard road structure material and fresh asphalt,” said the ministry.

“In addition to rebuilding the road, we are also adding a culvert to promote surface drainage.”

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DriveBC has recommended two alternate detour routes for motorists.

The route for light traffic is KLO Road to McCulloch Road to Highway 33, which would include a 25 kilometre stretch of gravel road.

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The route for bigger commercial type vehicles is Highway 33 south to Osoyoos, then Highway 3 to Rock Creek.

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One thing the closure could affect is the Joe Rich Fire Department’s ability to serve the community.

“The road closure has occurred near the Philpott Road area, and it’s essentially divided our fire protection area into two,” said Ben Wasyliuk, Joe Rich Fire Department’s fire chief.

Wasyliuk says the two fire stations in Joe Rich are located on either side of the closure, so the fire department will be able to combat any fires that occur.

If they need additional resources, Wasyliuk says they can reach out to neighbouring fire departments.

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