Highway 8, which runs between Merritt and Spences Bridge and was badly damaged in last November’s flood, has been hit by another devastating weather-related event.
DriveBC is reporting the highway is closed west of Merritt for 4.3 kilometres between Dot Ranch Cut-Off Road East and Dot Ranch Cut-Off Road.
The mudslide occurred at about 7 p.m. on Tuesday (Aug. 23).
Those living on the Shackan Indian Band reserve have been impacted by the mudslide. Residents of the area have reportedly been offered a helicopter ride in order to evacuate them.
“The entire band has been cut off from power at this moment,” said Chief Arnold Lampreau, who did not comment on the evacuation. “This is the fourth time this year we have been cut off by power … due to fires and heavy rains.”
BC Hydro is reporting that 80 customers in the area are in the dark, with the possibility of power being restored on Wednesday (Aug. 24). According to the Shackan Indian Band, three hydro poles were impacted by the mudslides, leading to the outage.
Highway 8 resident Rhonda MacDonald, whose farm was devastated by the November 2021 flooding, took to social media Tuesday night to say she and her husband are okay but that the mudslide has impacted their property.
Last fall, sections of Highway 8 collapsed into the Nicola River following an atmospheric river event. The Nicola River changed course and left some farms underwater, including MacDonald’s property.
While access to residences at either end of the highway has gradually been restored, the Ministry of Transportation is still working to complete repairs at five sites, and the highway remains closed to through traffic. There is no estimated date of reopening.
Environment Canada has confirmed that a severe thunderstorm watch has ended for the Thompson-Nicola Valley.