Mudslides hit highways in B.C. Southern Interior

Two mudslides, one near Keremeos, another near Rock Creek, have created highway delays while the Ministry of Transportation says a melting snow pack is contributing to the problem.

Ministry of Transportation says snow pack melt contributing to problem

An aerial view of a mudslide that closed Highway 3A on Friday April 13, 2018 near Keremeos. (DriveBC)

Two mudslides in B.C.'s Southern Interior have created highway delays while the Ministry of Transportation says a melting snow pack is contributing to the problem.

On Friday, a mudslide 10 kilometres east of Keremeos closed Highway 3A. It remained closed Sunday as crews worked to remove debris from the slide.

DriveBC officials say it's not known when the highway will reopen. In the meantime, there is a detour along Highway 3 and Highway 97.

On Sunday, another mudslide near Rock Creek closed Highway 33 for hours. Around 4 p.m. PT, the road was reopened to single lane alternating traffic. Officials say motorists were facing 20-minute delays to get through.

Freshet

Ministry of Transporation officials say mudslides are often caused by rapidly melting snow packs. The phenomenon is called Freshet and occurs from April to July in B.C.

Temperatures in the Southern Interior rose to 13 degrees on Sunday.

The ministry says the melting snow packs can become a problem when they melt rapidly, overwhelming stream channels and creating floods. They can destabilize soil and rock and cause mudslides, landslides and rock slides.

The ministry also says maintenance contractors are on patrol in the province looking for creeks showing signs of carrying extra sediment or having low flow levels, which could indicate the possibility of a slide.