No one injured or trapped in major avalanche on Highway 16
Highway closed in both directions after a 40-metre-wide stretch is buried under snow and debris
RCMP say no one was hurt in an avalanche that buried a section of Highway 16 near Valemount, B.C. at around 9:30 am PT on Monday.
A 79-kilometre stretch of the highway has been closed in both directions from the junction with Highway 5 in Tête Jaune Cache to the Alberta border while officials investigate. It is estimated that the slide measured half a metre deep by 40 metres wide.
An avalanche technician has been flown into the area and is currently conducting several controlled slides to eliminate the risk for work crews. Once the site is deemed safe, highway crews with heavy equipment will begin clearing the highway, Constable Lesley Smith said in a statement.
"Highway 16 East is completely blocked and there are no detours available. Ministry of Transportation continue to assess the incident."
Lakes District maintenance crews are also on scene assessing the scale and scope of the slide.
The Ministry of Transportation has advised that the risk of additional slides is very high. While nobody was hurt in the Monday slide, police say a pickup truck that tried to drive through the slide became stuck in the packed snow.
Hwy. 1 also closed near Revelstoke
The slide comes after several days of heavy snowfall across southern B.C., which put the avalanche danger rating in the area at "considerable" and "high" depending on the elevation.
Sections of the Trans-Canada Highway were also closed Monday in both directions from Revelstoke to Lake Louise because of high avalanche danger.
Avalanche control is also underway on highways 31 and 37A on Monday.
Since Christmas, at least eight people have been killed in accidents on Highway 16, which runs through some of the most rugged mountainous areas of B.C. Police have blamed the deaths on dangerous winter driving conditions.