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Highway 99 Reopens With Single Lane Restrictions
  • 08
  • 10
Image Credit: Xaxli’p First Nation Chief Darrell Bob

Highway 99 reopens to allow traffic in and out of the Lillooet area. Only one lane is open, allowing both directions to alternate passing. Passenger cars, school buses and emergency vehicles will be allowed to use the highway as normal. Transport vehicles however are only permitted to carry 50% of their normal load weight.

In order to make the road passable, work crews had to dig into the side of the mountain. Creating a new lane entirely in order to shift the weight away from the edge. The highway which had suffered a washout type land slide last week has been a safety concern for Lillooet and surrounding communities for a very long time now. Every year the side of the land along the “10 Mile Slide” shifts slightly. This large shift in the land has been something the community has been expecting would happen.

Mayor of Lillooet Marg Lampman has been urging the ministry to reroute the highway altogether, but the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone said “it would cost too much.” He released the following statement this week.

“Ministry engineers, construction crews and staff continue to make progress to assess the stability of the road surface and I’m pleased to announce that the road is now open to single-lane alternating traffic. Light vehicles, school buses and emergency vehicles will now be able to travel from either side of the slide area to Lillooet. However, commercial truck access will only be permitted at 50% legal axle loading until ministry geotechnical engineers further assess the stability of the road surface.

The ministry and the Xaxli’p First Nation are working closely together regarding the situation and continue to make safety the top priority. Yesterday, crews re-graded the section of road and rebuilt the travelling surface. This road surface will allow weight-restricted single-lane alternating traffic to pass until such time that both lanes can be re-opened to all vehicle and commercial traffic.

Re-opening this stretch has been a priority for me and my ministry and I’d like to acknowledge the importance of the route to the Xaxli’p and other First Nation communities in the area and their economy. On Friday, Jackie Tegart, MLA for Fraser-Nicola, and I will be touring the site with the mayor of Lillooet, First Nations and local officials to look at challenges associated, and long-term solutions for the technically complex Ten Mile Slide. I look forward to those discussions moving forward.”

For now there has been a temporary solution to allow traffic through, at least giving some type of access in and out of Lillooet. Whether  fixing the section of highway which has been a long time problem will last, is what concerns the mayor, community and Xaxli’p First Nation.

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