Roads & Bridges
Climate resistant bridges complete on B.C.’s Coquihalla Highway
November 15, 2023 By Rock to Road Staff
HOPE, B.C. — Six permanent, climate-resilient bridges have been completed on Coquihalla Highway 5 after the highway was washed out in unprecedented flooding in November 2021.
The Government of British Columbia announced the completed highway project between Merritt and Hope, B.C., saying the new bridges are now more resilient and reliable than those lost two years ago. The new bridges have been designed specifically to handle extreme weather conditions.
The six bridges occupy three locations along the highway, including the newly finished Bottletop Bridges, 50 kilometres south of Merritt, and Jessica Bridges, 20 kilometres north of Hope. The bridges at Juliet, 53 kilometres south of Merritt, were completed earlier this year. The work was completed ahead of expected timelines.
The new bridges are built to withstand high water levels by using deep-pile footings and longer spans. Large rock protection has been added to protect the bridges from erosion and scour. Trees, shrubs and grasses have been planted to encourage the re-growth of vegetation along the stream and support overall restoration of aquatic and land habitat.
Rob Fleming, B.C. minister of transportation and infrastructure, says the climate-resistant infrastructure is crucial to the province as it continues to navigate more frequent extreme weather events.
“Today, we are honouring the efforts of British Columbians who worked to rebuild after the atmospheric river event, two years ago. Thank you to the Nlaka’pamux communities, Silyx Nation, Peters First Nation and Yale First Nation along with their monitors, for their support through the washout and rebuild process; and to the many contractors, unions, ministry and road-maintenance staff who worked to rebuild this piece of highway that is so important to the movement of goods in our province,” he said.
The flooding on Nov. 14, 2021 included damage to more than 130 kilometres of roadway. The highway was closed for 35 days as 300 workers moved more than 400,000 cubic metres of gravel, rock and other material before the road was allowed to partially re-open to vehicle traffic.
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