Update, November 27: The ministry announced late Saturday morning that the closings would begin at 2 p.m. To learn more, click here. The original story follows.
The British Columbia government announced it is “proactively closing” parts of Highway 1, Highway 3 and Highway 99 on Saturday as the province prepares for the next atmospheric river.
The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure said the closures will impact Highway 3 between Hope and Princeton, Highway 99 between Pemberton and Lillooet and Highway 1 in the Fraser Canyon.
“The exact time and duration of the closures will depend on the weather,” the ministry said in a press release.
“The road infrastructure in these areas is extremely vulnerable following recent storms, and heavier rains in the forecast pose an additional risk.”
Officials said the closures will be reassessed on Sunday morning and routes will be reopened as they are deemed safe.
In addition to these closures, Highway 1 between Popkum and Hope is closed Saturday afternoon for scheduled reservoir releases that will send water rushing to parts of the highway that were impacted during the storm from last week.
The Department of Transportation said further damage is expected on the highway, but the releases are “crucial to protecting the Lake Jones Reservoir, which is also being affected by heavy rain.”
“Crews will undertake an assessment when it is safe to do so, and equipment will be awaiting repair,” the ministry said.
On Friday, multiple crashes shut down part of Highway 3, the Crowsnest Highway, in both directions. The stretch was already only open to essential travel, such as commercial vehicles carrying essential goods and previously stranded travelers trying to get home.
Transport Minister Rob Fleming called the crashes a good reminder to all drivers to “please slow down, be alert, be patient”.
“Teams continue to repair and improve the lanes and conditions are far from normal,” Fleming said Friday morning.
The Coquihalla Highway and Highway 8 also remain closed.
Addressing ongoing repairs to major roads damaged in last week’s storm, Fleming said there was “no doubt” they would be rebuilt better than before.
“Our infrastructure will be rebuilt to withstand the new climate realities we find ourselves in,” he said.
On Highway 1 in the Fraser Canyon, seven different areas were affected, four of which suffered significant damage.
The province has estimated that the temporary repairs will be completed by mid-January.
“It will be a very restricted flow of traffic with single track sections and level crossings which will be temporary but will allow the safe passage of vehicles,” Fleming said.
The minister also provided an update on Highway 8, which he said “was largely destroyed” in last week’s storm. Twenty different areas sustained significant damage, including four bridges.
“The Nicola River has literally carved out a new path, washing away large sections of the highway in the process,” he added.
“About five or six kilometers of roadway completely disappeared and another 20 kilometers were significantly damaged.”
The province is working with local Indigenous leaders to restore temporary access as soon as possible, Fleming said.
Ongoing road updates are available at DriveBC Road Advisories Page.