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No timeline yet for opening Highway 97 at the Summerland rock slide

Heavy equipment is ready to move in if safe to do so, said Ministry of Transportation
Highways crews are en route to reports of a rock slide near North Beach Road, north of Summerland. (Tahea Mack/Facebook)

The Ministry of Transportation is not providing a timeline yet for when Highway 97 north of Summerland will reopen.

The highway closed in both directions on Monday afternoon when large boulders and power lines came crashing down on the highway at North Beach Road near La Punta Norte Guest Inn. There were no injuries reported.

An aerial geotechnical assessment took place Tuesday morning to determine if it is safe for crews to begin clearing the road without risk of further rockfall, according to a Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure press release.

“Heavy equipment is ready to move in if the aerial assessment determines that it is safe,” stated the news release.

An initial estimate is that approximately 3,000 cubic metres of material came down.

This specific location, between Callan Road and Okanagan Lake Provincial Park, where the rockfall occurred has had minor rockfalls historically, said the ministry.

The ministry said people should check for updates on the highway.

People are taking to social media saying they are stranded in Kelowna while others are taking alternative back road routes meant for 4x4s.

Many of those alternative roads are gravel and have no cellular service available.

While the roadblock is only between an area of about 300 metres, the detours in effect can take three to four hours to get around. DriveBC lists Highway 97C, Highway 5A, Highway 3 and Highway 33 for detours.

READ MORE: Rock fall closes Highway 97 north of Summerland

Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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