The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says it is moving ahead with permanent repairs to a key B.C. highway damaged by catastrophic flooding last November.
A statement from the ministry says it has begun the process to select contractors to design and complete the repairs at three of the seven damaged bridges along the Coquihalla Highway.
The ministry says the work will return the highway to four lanes along a section between its summit and 50 kilometres south of Merritt.
It’s expected contracts for the bridges will be awarded by late April or early May, with construction slated for the summer and completion by the end of this year.
The ministry says permanent repairs are also a priority along the damaged Othello section of the highway just east of Hope and a tender package is being prepared for contractors.
Work on permanent repairs to the other flood-damaged highways, including Highway 1 through the Fraser Canyon and Highway 8 in the Nicola Valley, is planned and the ministry says it expects to share more details in the coming weeks.
Transportation Minister Rob Fleming says the repairs will leave the highway in better condition than it was before a storm known as an atmospheric river dumped record-breaking amounts of rain on much of southern B.C. last year, causing floods, slides and washouts.
Efforts will be made to minimize traffic disruptions during peak travel times and to complete the work overnight where possible, but the ministry says delays, including periods of single-lane alternating traffic and short, intermittent full closures, are expected throughout construction.