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Highway 3 reopens between Hope and Princeton, essential travel only

No cost estimates yet for rebuilding infrastructure.
Photo taken in Princeton, B.C. Highway 3 between Hope and Princeton has reopened for essential travel only, following a multi-day closure caused by massive flooding and mudslides.

The provincial government says checkpoints will be in place to limit travel along Highway 3 and Highway 7 to essential purposes only.

Minister of Transportation Rob Fleming announced Friday afternoon that crews have re-established a road link between the Lower Mainland and the B.C. Interior.

“I cannot overstate how appreciative I am of everybody who is involved in this incredible effort, the crews along this corridor to get it open they have been going around the clock clearing and repairing sections of highway to the point where we can get traffic moving today, days ahead of the initial projections,” Fleming said.

Drivers should expect sections of single-lane alternating traffic on Highway 7 and three sections of single-lane alternating traffic on Highway 3 east of Hope. Delays will be significant, given the amount of essential goods to be delivered and many people stranded on either side of the closures.

The government is “strongly encouraging” travellers to wait a day or two to allow for a massive amount of commercial traffic to get through.

Fleming reiterated that the route is open to essential travel only, under a new Emergency Programs Act order announced Friday.

“That means that if you're transporting essential products or delivering vital services that we all rely on, you can use this corridor if you've been cut off from your principal address this past week you can now drive home. But let me be clear who this is not open to — it is not open to recreational or non-essential travel at this time.”

Highway 99 north of Pemberton is hoped to reopen on Sunday under similar restrictions.

“I want to emphasize that this will not be travel as we'd expect under normal conditions. Crews will be on site with heavy equipment to continue to repair the roads and until that work is fully complete. The traffic is going to be slow,” Fleming continued.

He said there is currently no timeline or cost estimates for rebuilding the significant infrastructure that has been damaged.

“It’s going to be a lot. There’s no question about,” he said, adding the highways will be rebuilt to higher standards.

The government says it expects travel restrictions can be eased as the backlog of essential traffic clears.