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B.C. extends state of emergency; cites potential flooding, ongoing highway damage

A transport truck travels on the Coquihalla Highway after it was reopened to commercial traffic northeast of Hope, B.C., on Dec. 20, 2021. British Columbia is again extending its provincial state of emergency that's been in place since Nov. 17. Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press

British Columbia has again extended its provincial state of emergency, stating some highways are still damaged from November’s flooding and mudslides, along with the potential for further flooding this week.

The province announced the news on Tuesday afternoon, stating, “given the continued need for public safety measures under the Emergency Program Act and ongoing work to repair damaged highways, the provincial state of emergency is being extended until the end of day, Jan. 18, 2022.”

The provincial state of emergency was first declared on Nov. 17 due to severe weather, with several highways being impacted. It was extended on Nov. 29, then again on Dec. 13.

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The extension means restricted travel along the Coquihalla and Highway 99 will remain in place.

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Only commercial traffic (with a minimum licensed gross vehicle weight of 11,794 kilograms) and inter-city buses will be allowed on the Coquihalla between Hope and Merritt.

For Highway 99, vehicles weighing more than 14,500 kg will not be permitted from the junction of Highway 99 and Lillooet River Road to the B.C. Hydro Seton Lake campsite access in Lillooet.

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“My continued thanks go out to road crews who are working so hard to get our highways back and fully open,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

“This work is essential in getting vital resources to the people of British Columbia, and once completed will allow for easier access to communities around the province.”

The province’s minister of transportation, Rob Fleming, said work has progressed well despite adverse conditions.

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“While this work continues, the restriction on these highways will have to remain in place for a short while longer,” said Fleming, “to ensure road conditions are safe for those driving and working on them.”

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