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Rock slide closes Highway 3 west of Keremeos, 2 properties evacuated

Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District has imposed a state of local emergency
A large boulder can be seen on Highway 3 west of Keremeos on Sunday night. The highway is closed until at least Monday afternoon. (Christopher Erb photo)

A rock slide has closed a major southern British Columbia highway in both directions outside Keremeos, about 300 kilometres east of Vancouver.

The rock slide between Hedley-Nickleplate Road and Ashnola Road took place around 7:30 p.m. The slide also caused a temporary power outage throughout Keremeos. Some were still without power at 10 p.m.

The Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District issued an evacuation order for residents at two addresses sandwiched between Highway 3 and the Similkameen River, within hours of the Sunday night slide.

The regional district has also imposed a state of local emergency for the rural area roughly halfway between the Village of Keremeos and the community of Hedley.

Fortis BC, which provides electricity in the region says the “unstable ground conditions” have caused a power outage affecting 114 customers. A note on the utility’s website estimates lights could be back on by 2 p.m.

One picture showed a large boulder on the highway.

Detour via highway 3 to Hwy 97 to Hwy 5 to Hwy 5A.

DriveBC, the province’s online traveller information system, is not estimating when the highway might reopen and it’s proposed detour involves a route through Merritt and West Kelowna, adding more than 300 kilometres to the journey.

—with a file from Canadian Press

Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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