The main roadway connecting B.C.'s Lower Mainland and southern interior remains closed following a massive mudslide that swept up to 5,000 cubic metres of trees and debris across the highway.

The raging river of water and mud came crashing down across all four lanes of the Coquihalla Highway just east of Hope Wednesday morning. Crews were able to begin clearing the debris right away, but it's a big job. Geotechnical engineers estimate the muck was up to three metres deep in some areas.

The rapid slide was a little too close for comfort for some drivers, including trucker Ross Andrinopoulos who was almost caught in the rubble.

"It was a little scary...a lot scary. The rocks that came down were huge," he told CTV News.

Geotechnical engineer Bruce Hayden said the slide was initiated by an avalanche knocking down rocks and trees further up the mountain.

Not completely cut off

Crews managed to reopen the Hope-Princeton section of Highway 3 early this morning, meaning drivers can reach the Okanagan via that link through Manning Park.

But several other sections of Highways 1 and 3 through southeastern B.C. remain blocked by the threat of avalanches -- with reopening of the Trans Canada near Golden not expected until at least tomorrow.

As well, several Vancouver Island roads are closed, including Highway 14 from Sooke west to Port Renfrew and the only route linking Gold River to Tahsis, west of Strathcona Provincial Park.

With files from The Canadian Press