UPDATED: Power restored after Lardeau rockfall

The lights are back on at 315 homes following a big rockslide on Highway 31 at the Lardeau bluffs.

A rockslide temporarily closed Highway 31 near Lardeau today.



The lights are back on at 315 homes following a big rockslide on Highway 31 at the Lardeau bluffs, 10 km south of Meadow Creek.

The slide, which happened before 1 a.m. Thursday, brought down an estimated 100 cubic meters of rock and debris. Nobody was hurt and no vehicles were damaged.

A tree or rock hooked a power line and brought it down. Although no poles toppled, three arms broke and eight spans of wire needed to be repaired. According to BC Hydro the power went out at 12:43 a.m.

Electricity was initially expected to be restored by midnight, but Hydro spokeswoman Mary Anne Coules said the Ministry of Highways told them Thursday afternoon the area was being restricted to through traffic.

Following a geotechnical assessment of the area Friday morning, which deemed it safe for crews to work in the slide path, the restoration was completed in about four hours. Power was restored shortly after 3 p.m., more than 38 hours after it went out.

The highways ministry released a series of photo, showing one boulder about the width of one highway lane that punctured the pavement and another that rolled across the highway and into Kootenay Lake.

The ministry did an aerial assessment before moving in to clean it up, local manager Hugh Eberle said: “We flew the site and investigated the source. From what we could see from the helicopter, it appeared all the rock that could come down did.”

The road reopened to single lane traffic about 2:30 p.m. Thursday. Eberle said they have been breaking the rock into manageable pieces and will do some ditching and temporary road repairs. Later this spring or early summer when pavement contractors have been hired, the road will be rebuilt and repaved.

Although it’s the biggest incident in the area so far this spring, Eberle said drivers should be aware there could be others. “I think generally everyone does know that rockfalls along our highways in the Kootenays are more common this time of year because of freeze/thaw cycles.”

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