Update: Highway reopens

Just in time for the start of the Canada Day long weekend, the Trans-Canada Highway has reopened after a massive mudslide a day earlier.

Just in time for the start of the Canada Day long weekend, the Trans-Canada Highway has reopened after a massive mudslide a day earlier.

The slide swept away one car and blocked a train.

There were no reports of injuries as crews dug through mud 15 feet deep in places.

Yesterday, Search and rescue crews had to wait for geo-technical clearance before searching the debris following concerns more mud could come down.

The slide occurred around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday near Herrling Island.

The mud extended across both east and westbound lanes, and crossed over the CN Rail mainline.

Lynn Orstad, emergency program co-ordinator with the Fraser Valley Regional District, said the mudslide appeared to be “a pretty fluid slide” with some large woody debris, but “mostly water and mud.”

She said slide was reportedly about 100 feet wide – enough to cover both lanes – and 15 feet deep,

It was located in the same area as previous slides, but “I think this one’s going to be bigger,” she said.

Because there are no homes in the area, Orstad said, no homes were affected.

Kurt Edmunds, operations manager, department of highways said crews were clearing what is largely a “debris flow” that’s started very high up the mountainside.

He said about 4,000 to 6,000 cubic metres of mostly mud and organic material came down the mountainside with enough momentum to cover the eastbound lane. But trees and bushes in the median kept it from flowing into the westbound lane.

He said this section of highway is patrolled regularly and there was “no indication” a slide was imminent. He said there is also no indication that more slides could occur.

Edmunds blamed heavy rain and snow melt for the slide.

MLA Barry Penner agreed.

He said the BC government has spent a significant amount of money to prevent slides in this area.

“There are times when Mother Nature is stronger than all of us.”

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