Repairs underway to fix Highway 97 sinkhole

By Pete McIntyre
May 31, 2017 - 2:24pm

VERNON, B.C. — The Ministry of Transportation hopes to have a sinkhole site in Vernon repaired and back in service by this weekend.

A four foot wide hole emerged in the northbound lanes by Polson Park Tuesday afternoon, causing the road to be shut down.

There was a much larger hole underneath the ground, measuring about 12 feet by 40 feet.

Okanagan Shuswap District Manager Jack Bennetto says it was caused by a small breach in the culvert under the road, likely a result of the high flows of Vernon Creek.

“We’ve got a temporary repair. We’re going to put layers of material down with layers of geo grid fabric in between and compact it. We will then rebuild the material under the road, and then be able to open the road,” Bennetto tells Kiss FM.

Bennetto says they will look at a longer term solution once the water levels subside.

“Right now it’s difficult to investigate because there is so much water going through the culvert.”

For the time being, single lane traffic will continue using the southbound lanes.

Bennetto is confident the route will be open by the weekend, or sooner.

“We won’t really know that until we start to do some of the works today, just to see how the progress goes.”

Engineers and contractors talked about the best solution for the site Wednesday morning.

“Last night’s work was all about investigating and making sure the highway was safe, and investigating the integrity of the culvert. We’re comfortable with the two lanes we do have open, and obviously we have two that need some work, and we are now just going to begin with the repair,” says Bennetto.

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