NEWS

Boulders crash down on Kootenay Lake highway

04/11/2013 09:01 EDT | Updated 06/11/2013 05:12 EDT
A large rock slide on the north arm of B.C.'s Kootenay Lake cut off power and blocked highway access to the south for a number of remote communities including Johnsons Landing, which itself was hit by a landslide last summer.

The rock slide hit Highway 31, about two kilometres north of the community of Lardeau, at about 1 a.m. PT Thursday after a period of heavy rain.

Hugh Eberle, the Nelson-based operations manager for the B.C. Ministry of Transportation, said about 10 truck loads of rock came down the Lardeau bluffs.

The rocks that fell onto the road varied in size, but some were as large as small cars, he said.

Kim Foster, who runs a gas station north of the slide in Cooper Creek, says she lost power early in the morning.

"We've had quite a few gas customers come in and quite a few people need water as well," she said.

Foster says people coming into her store tell her several power poles were taken out.

"And there is a huge rock embedded in the highway," she said.

As of 3:30 p.m. an aerial assessment of the slide area and highway damage had been completed, and the highway was re-opened to single lane, alternating traffic.

Crews say it will take some time to clear and repair the highway, which was cracked open by some of the larger boulders.

Power has not yet been restored to all areas, including Johnsons Landing, which was hit by a massive slide last summer. In September, a geotechnical expert said the land above the community was unstable and warned that another slide could happen at any time.

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