Heavy rain over the weekend led to a washout 21 kilometres up Silver Skagit Road Sunday morning.
A section of the road was washed away, leaving a gap five to seven metres wide and 1.5 to two metres deep.
“The culverts couldn’t handle the volume of water coming down and it started to run across the road,” said Doug Wilson, area bridges manager for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Once it started running across the road, it cut some trenches in there and got in behind the culverts and washed out the road.”
The washout prevented about 70 travellers, including a boy scout group, from leaving Skagit Valley Provincial Park. Jaime Davis Towing installed a low-bed truck as a temporary bridge to transport 34 vehicles across the culvert on Sunday.
The road was shut down to all drivers heading to the park for several days as Emil Anderson worked on permanent repairs.
Wilson said the ministry is currently on high alert in the region as temperatures rise. The weekend rain has added to the rapid snow melt in the area.
The District of Hope is also keeping a close eye on the Fraser River and is involved in daily conference calls with the province to stay up-to-date on the flood threat.
A high streamflow advisory was issued Sunday for the Lower Fraser River, with heavy flows measured at Hope and Mission. Flows are forecast to reach 11,500 to 13,000 cubic metres per second at Hope by late Thursday or Friday.
“We could see some high water volumes we haven’t seen in 40 years,” said fire chief Tom DeSorcy, who is also Hope’s emergency preparedness coordinator. “Right now we’re reacting to the expected rise of the Fraser. The weather is just part of the spring freshet and will contribute to the rivers that feed into the Fraser and the Fraser itself.”
In anticipation of the high water levels, the district has closed Rotary Trails and Wardle Street, between Seventh and Allison avenues.
DeSorcy warns that other areas along the river will likely be shut down due to flooding this week, including Lanstrom, Tom Berry and Bristol Island roads.