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Mudslide cuts off Stewart, BC again


Highway 37A has been washed out again, cutting off access to the remote community of Stewart
Highway 37A has been washed out again, cutting off access to the remote community of Stewart

Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer

September 23, 2011 — Heavy rain, a mudslide and flooding has cut off the community of Stewart, BC for the second time this month.

Rain has been soaking parts of the BC coast for days
Rain has been soaking parts of the BC coast for days

It's been a week of soggy weather on the coast of BC, and that has led to problems once again for people living in the remote community of Stewart.

Highway 37A is closed in both directions due to a mudslide at Bear Glacier. The highway is the only route that connects the town to the rest of the province. Flooding has also closed part of Highway 37.

Over 50 mm of rain has fallen in some areas this week and an additional 30-60 mm is possible through Saturday.

Earlier this month, Highway 37A was washed out due to similar weather conditions. Crews immediately got to work repairing the eroded areas. Their greatest challenge was the Bitter Creek Bridge, one side of which was completely washed away.

Last Friday, a temporary bridge was opened to the public, and a pilot car led the first motorists to the other side. The drivers, many of them tourists who were stranded in Stewart when the floods hit, cheered and thanked construction crews as they drove over the bridge.

Rainfall amounts expected through Saturday
Rainfall amounts expected through Saturday

Mike Lorimer is regional director with the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. He says until the bridge is back to 100 percent, there are definitely concerns with this additional rain.

“We have crews actively working long hours up there still trying to rebuild what we've got, but the good thing with that is they're there and are in a really good position to respond to anything that might happen in the next couple days of rain.”

Drivers are encouraged to check the Drive BC website as it contains accurate information about road closures and road openings.

Meanwhile, people on Vancouver Island and the lower mainland are bracing for a good soaking. Environment Canada released a weather warning for Vancouver on Wednesday; the city's first in 133 days.

Around 30 mm of rain has already fallen in places like vancouver and Abbotsford. Flooding was seen in both directions along Highway 1 in Burnaby Thursday morning. A 50 metre section of the H-O-V lanes was under water during the morning rush, leading to an hour delay for commuters.

With files from Alexandra Pope

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