Blasting continues on Hwy. 97 rockslide closure in the Okanagan

Still no date on when main Okanagan transportation link will reopen

A blast goes off above Highway 97 to remove unstable rock where a slide occurred last week. MoTi photo

Highway 97 remains closed between Summerland and Kelowna, but there are now three alternate routes available, and crews are working on a third detour around the slide itself.

There is still no estimated time when the highway will reopen. The slide, just north of Summerland, started Jan. 31 and the major route between the Central and South Okanagan, has been closed to traffic since Feb. 2. Crews continue to work to stabilize the slope, including blasting.

The recommended route between Penticton and Kelowna — for light vehicles, five tons or less — is the 201 Forest Service Road, accessed off Highway 33 near McCollough Road near Kelowna, and via Warren Avenue/Carmi Avenue in Penticton.

The speed limit along the 201 Forest Service Road is 50 km/h, and people must drive with caution along this route, which does not typically experience a high volume of traffic. Drivers can expect up to 90 minutes of additional travel time compared to normal travel time between Summerland and Peachland on Highway 97.

Heavier vehicles and commercial trucks are required to detour via Highway 97C, Highway 5A and Highway 3A to Highway 3.

Another route was opened up Friday, following Princeton Summerland Road west of Summerland, the Trout Creek Forest Service Road and the Peachland Forest Service Road to Princeton Avenue in Peachland.

This is a shorter route, but drivers who used it early this weekend are recommending the 201 as the superior route.

Related: Video: Drivers warning to avoid new Trout Creek FSR Detour

Work is ongoing to build a detour on Callan Road, which would shorten the travel time considerably.

Related: Detour will be constructed around rock slide

The next update from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is expected at noon on Feb. 10


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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