Water is expected to force the closure of Highway 3 in several spots when the Similkameen River rises again laster this week. (File photo)

Prepare now for Highway 3 to close when river rises

Officials are urging residents on evac alerts that have mobility/health issues to self evacuate

When the Similkameen River rises later this week, officials expect it will force the closure of Highway 3 in several areas between Hedley and Keremeos.

The highway was closed near Riverside RV Park, about 14 kilometres west of Keremeos, for several days last week, when water levels in the Similkameen River rose drastically. Crews worked to create berms to hold back the water in the area. The berms might not be enough to hold back the water as warm temperatures are causing snow packs in higher elevations to melt rapidly.

Currently close to 1,400 residents are on evacuation alert in the Similkameen Valley.

Related: Hard work went into reopening Highway 3

DriveBC provided a detour route that sent motorists to Princeton, up to Aspen Grove, across Highway 97 to near Peachland and then through Penticton to Highway 3A.

“Please be advised Nickel Plate Road is washed out and currently impassible,” the release stated.

The Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen issued a release recommending residents with health and mobility issues or who have livestock or animals at low levels, to self-evacuate. Homes currently on evacuation alert should prepare for an evacuation order for some areas in the next few days, the release stated.

“Due to flooding concerns, Highway 3 will likely be closed in multiple locations and it is important that residents prepare now for a potential Evacuation Order. Closure of Highway 3 will potentially strand residents, and people with health issues or livestock need to prepare to self-evacuate,” the release stated.

Related: Evacuation alerts expanded in the Similkameen

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