Hwy 5A to be raised to protect against future flooding

·2 min read

The province has announced $20.7 million in funding from StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan Climate Adaptation Program, which will benefit the Merritt area.

The program will support a range of projects throughout the Province with the intention of increasing resiliency of the highway network and to help lessen the adverse effects of climate change.

“One of the key threats to the reliability of the highway network is climate related, and examples include high-intensity rainfall events, extreme freshet seasons and flooding,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

“These events have been increasing in intensity due to climate change, and this initiative ensures a reliable transportation system will be in place for future emergency events as well as the continued movement of people, goods and services.”

The funding has been distributed throughout all regions of British Columbia, and will create jobs for locals as well as strengthen transportation infrastructure.

“These projects are spread throughout the province as this issue is not specific to one geographic area,” Fleming continued.

“This ensures work created by this program will benefit people in many communities, particularly small construction companies that have seen a reduction in work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The projects include slope erosion protection, flood protection works, riverbank erosion protection, creek channel training, culvert upsizing, and avalanche system maintenance.

“Every year, British Columbians see first-hand the escalating impacts that climate change has on our communities and infrastructure,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

“Floods, wildfires and water shortages are increasingly common and severe. This investment will upgrade systems to guard against extreme flooding, erosion and other climate change events. It’s part of our economic recovery plan and CleanBC commitment to help people, communities and the natural environment protect against the impacts of climate change.”

The Merritt area will see a share of the $4.4 million that is allotted to the Thompson Okanagan and Cariboo through two projects.

At the Coquihalla Summit, Falls Lake avalanche maintenance and snow catchment area maintenance will see funding.

Along Hwy 5A between Merritt and Kamloops, flood protection will be constructed to raise the profile of the highway above future flood levels to ensure no further impacts to the highway.

The rising water levels at Stump Lake have caused extensive property damage for residents, with the highway at times being impassable until raised above the flood level.

Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald