B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says planned closures of highways between the Lower Mainland and the Interior due to the ongoing storm will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday.
The ministry had announced Friday that it planned to close portions of Highways 1, 3 and 99 due to the increased risk of flooding and mudslides on those already-damaged routes as another atmospheric river batters the province. The initial announcement did not specify what time the closures would begin.
On Saturday, the ministry confirmed that Highway 1 would be closed in the Fraser Canyon and between Popkum and Hope at 2 p.m.
Highway 3 will close between Hope and Princeton at the same time.
Highway 99 will close between Pemberton and Lillooet at 4 p.m., the ministry said Saturday.
“The duration of closures will depend on the weather,” the ministry said in a statement. “The closures of these three highways will be re-evaluated on Sunday morning, with the highways reopened when safe to do so.”
The three roads being closed Saturday were already limited to essential travel only under the provincial state of emergency. All three suffered significant damage during the devastating storm that struck the province earlier this month, and were reopened with temporary repairs in place.
In its statement, the ministry described the three highways as “extremely vulnerable” to more damage from heavy rain.
The storm hitting the province Saturday is the second in a string of three atmospheric rivers that were expected to bring heavy rain and warm air to B.C.
On Friday, Environment Canada issued an unprecedented “red alert” for parts of the province still recovering from the previous storm, saying already-reeling communities could be especially vulnerable to the effects of rain, melting snow, rising rivers and landslides.
This is a developing story and will be updated