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Highway 8 reopens nearly 360 days after catastrophic floods

DCN-JOC News Services
Highway 8 reopens nearly 360 days after catastrophic floods
BC MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE - Crews place the final gravel road surface to finish temporary repairs, allowing Highway 8 to open to the public for the first time in nearly 360 days.

MERRITT, B.C. – Highway 8 between Merritt and Spences bridge has officially reopened to the public nearly 360 days after it was closed by an atmospheric river event.

“Indeed, almost a year in the making from the horrific extreme weather events that the province endured Nov. 14 and 15 in particular last year,” said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming during a press briefing.

The $100 million reopening proved emotional for many Indigenous chiefs whose communities had been isolated after the loss of the highway.

“The atmospheric river, a one-in-750-year event. No personal life here has ever seen the water hit that magnitude,” said Nooaitch Indian Band chief Marcel Shackelly.

The Nooaitch community was completely isolated with the loss of Highway 8. Shackelly said he had reservations about the promises the government made to him about rebuilding the road, saying he felt like he was sitting on Santa’s lap making wishes that wouldn’t come true.

But the process and results gave him hope, he said.

“To actually see those commitments start to unroll even though we didn’t have signed agreements. The collaborative nature of how we’re going get through what might be coming in the future,” Shackelly said.

“Or the solutions will be of a collaborative nature in order to get to net-zero (to decrease) the magnitude and frequency of these kinds of events. Maybe we can choose an alternate path for humanity.”

Although the road is now open it is still an active construction zone and will be for some time. The ministry stated the road will not be used as a detour should closures affect Highway 1 or the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE – Highway 8 is officially reopened, nearly 360 days after large portions of the road were washed out by an atmospheric river.

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