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Coquihalla Highway's climate-resilient bridges complete after 2021 washout

DCN-JOC News Services
Coquihalla Highway's climate-resilient bridges complete after 2021 washout
B.C. MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION - Climate-resilient bridges are now complete along the Coquihalla Highway after several were washed out in the 2021 British Columbia floods. Amongst the completed structures are Bottletop Bridge, seen here in a photo from July 14, 2023 as piles were being installed.

HOPE, B.C. – Permanent repairs to Coquihalla Highway 5 are complete after it was washed out during unprecedented flooding two years ago.

The repaired highway features six new climate-resilient bridges built in place of the ones that were lost in November 2021. The six bridge spans located at three different locations have been rebuilt to handle extreme weather.

The new permanent bridges are now finished at Bottletop Bridge and Jessica Bridge. The bridges at Juliet were completed earlier this year.

Over 300 workers and 200 pieces of equipment moved more than 400,000 cubic metres of materials, reopening Highway 5 to commercial traffic on Dec. 20, 2021, and to all traffic on Jan. 19, 2022.

KEA5, a joint venture of Kiewit Infrastructure British Columbia and Emil Anderson Construction, completed the bridges two months ahead of schedule.

The reconstruction work incorporated advanced engineering techniques to ensure these bridges can effectively handle high water levels, with deep-pile footings and longer spans providing structural stability.

Moreover, protective measures such as extensive rock reinforcements were implemented to safeguard against erosion and scour. To facilitate the restoration of aquatic and land habitat, trees, shrubs and grasses were strategically planted.

Ryan Tones, district manager for Kiewit, praised the skilled workers, construction professionals, and design engineers for completing the work ahead of schedule. He expressed gratitude in a press release for the guidance First Nation communities provided throughout the process, emphasizing the benefits of collaboration and alliance-contracting models.

Rob Fleming, minister of transportation and infrastructure, echoed this sentiment: “Thank you to the Nlaka’pamux communities, Silyx Nation, Peters First Nation and Yale First Nation along with their monitors, for their support through the washout and rebuild process; and to the many contractors, unions, ministry and road-maintenance staff who worked to rebuild this piece of highway that is so important to the movement of goods in our province.”

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