Crews pulled off the job after 'new and significant' crack discovered on rock slide slope
Okanagan commuters are frustrated as Highway 97 remains closed near Summerland, B.C.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says a "new and significant crack" has been discovered on the slope where a rock slide occurred on Highway 97 between Peachland and Summerland, B.C., last weekend.
"All scaling crews have been pulled off the site for safety concerns," said a release from the ministry.
"This new development means that the highway will not be able to reopen today, and there is no current estimated time for reopening," said the statement.
The crack, discovered early Wednesday morning extends 50 meters to the north and south of the rock slide area.
Geotechnical engineers are assessing the area by helicopter and monitoring the crack to determine when work can resume.
"The 'when" will be when its safe,' said ministry spokesperson Mike Lorimer, executive director of highway operations for the Southern Interior Region.
'Too uncertain and unstable'
"Until we can stabilize the upper part of the failure it's too uncertain and unstable to have crews working down below it," said Tom Kneale with the Ministry of Transportation.
The route is still closed to vehicle traffic, and motorists are being asked to take assigned detours instead of following their GPS.
The highway is the major corridor between Kelowna and Penticton and the long detours have frustrated many drivers.
"We reiterate that travel using other alternate unmaintained routes is not recommended and is being discouraged for safety reasons," said the ministry.
Alternate routes remain in place, and drivers are reminded to check DriveBC.ca and @DriveBC on Twitter for up-to-date information.