"The Coquihalla is arguably the most important highway in Canada," stranded Alberta farmer shares perspective on flooding

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All eyes are once again on British Columbia as headlines have become dominated by record amounts of rain causing disastrous flooding, evacuations, and road closures.

Some major transportation highways have been closed — including the Trans-Canada, the Crowsnest Highway, and the Coquihalla. Both CN and CP rail lines are also closed due to damage.

Alongside tourists and travellers, these highways are used largely by truckers transporting goods and services to and from B.C.

Jesse Meyer, farmer from the Peace Region of Alberta, was on his way to the lower mainland of B.C. with a load of grain when the torrential downpours began.

Meyer and his brother first started hearing reports of the Coquihalla — which is known as one of the main corridors through B.C. — shutting down due to mudslides, followed by pictures of the bridge being fully taken out. Next, they opted for the second option, the Trans-Canada highway via the Fraser Canyon. Very quickly this no longer was an option, says Meyer, due to more mudslides. (Story continues below interview)

“So then we had to take the third and final option — which is through the town of Princeton, and then Highway 3, which is the Crowsnest Pass. We got through Princeton, and then between Princeton and Hope is where we were no longer able to travel, because further up in Hope there were mudslides, which is on the news,” he explains from his semi on the side of the highway. “And then behind us, which is Princeton, is also overflowing. There are two rivers that have come together there and they are under water. So we’re stranded right in between Hope and Princeton on Highway 3, at a place called Manning Park. Not a terrible place to be — we’ve got a restaurant here and things to keep us going, but we can’t go to our destination, and we can’t even go home if we wanted to.”

From his spot on the side of the highway, Meyer says there are quite a bit of transport trucks and stranded vehicles, parked and waiting to see what happens next. Where they are located is safe, and for now there is food, however, there is talk soon of having to fly in food to the nearby restaurants, the longer they sit.

“The Coquihalla is arguably the most important highway in Canada, where it brings all the goods from Vancouver into the interior of Canada, and visa versa. To see that highway being shut down — that’s a big deal.”

 

Categories: News / Weather / Western Canada

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