B.C. highway flood repair costs expected to balloon to $1 billion

Click to play video: 'Highway repairs for 2021 B.C. flood damage at $250M to date'
Highway repairs for 2021 B.C. flood damage at $250M to date
WATCH: The B.C. government has released the latest bill for repairing the major highways damaged during the flooding of November 2021. – Feb 7, 2023

B.C.’s Transportation Ministry is expecting the price tag for repairs to major highways damaged during the November 2021 floods to grow to approximately $1 billion.

According to Transportation Minister Rob Fleming, more than $250 million has been sunk into repairing highways one, five and eight so far.

The atmospheric rivers caused widespread flooding and massive destruction to the Coquihalla, the Fraser Canyon and Highway 8.

“We’re at about a quarter of a billion dollars in expenditures so far,” said Fleming.

“All of those highways are open, the Coquihalla is back to four-lane capacity for the entire duration. We had about 430 damaged sites on those highways and other areas across the province.”

Read more: Princeton, B.C. still rebuilding after devastating floods

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Fleming says the pace of the temporary repairs is a cause for optimism but the work is far from over.

“We think the permanent climate resilient repairs for the three major damaged highways will probably be about $1 billion,” he said.

About 70 per cent of that will be eligible for federal disaster funding, he added.

Read more: B.C. farmers hail flood recovery near 1-year anniversary but concerns remain

The Coquihalla will need flood plains built around new spans, in the case of future flooding.

“The highway is being rebuilt to very different specifications to account for what is the new standard, in terms of a once in 200-year flood event, which we expect will become, unfortunately, more common,” said Fleming.

“That’s the approach we are taking now. New infrastructure is obviously built to a new climate resilient standard. In terms of repairing or retrofitting infrastructure, these are the principles that are a part of living in the 21st century.”

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