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Permanent repairs to Delta overpass struck by truck last month will take months, province says


A B.C. highway overpass that was struck by a commercial truck two weeks ago has reopened to southbound traffic, but permanent repairs will take months and may require further closures.

The southbound lane of Highway 17A in Delta has been closed since July 18, when it was damaged by an over-height truck that collided with the overpass that carries Highway 17A over Highway 99.

On Tuesday, the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced that temporary repairs had allowed the highway to reopen to southbound traffic, with motorists now using the northbound HOV/transit lane to travel south.

"Northbound HOV and bus traffic must use the general-purpose Highway 99 on-ramp lane to access Highway 99 northbound," the ministry said in a statement.

"This is a change to the normal traffic pattern. Drivers should follow signage, use caution and allow additional travel time."

The regular southbound lane on Highway 17A will remain closed until permanent repairs can be made, something the ministry said is expected to take "several months" to complete.

"Once the permanent repairs get underway, further closures may be needed," the ministry said. "Drivers will be notified of any impacts to traffic in advance."

In his own statement about the highway's reopening, Delta Mayor George V. Harvie took credit for the temporary traffic solution, saying it was implemented in response to a letter he sent to Transportation Minister Rob Fleming.

Harvie said the new traffic pattern will allow local residents – especially those working in the Tilbury business area – to enter Ladner via the overpass, rather than having to take lengthy detours.

"I want to thank Minister Fleming and ministry staff for their quick response to my request for an update on the Highway 17A repairs and the congestion it has caused for Delta residents," Harvie said.

"I am pleased to have worked together with the minister and his staff to come up with a quick temporary solution."

The July 18 crash was the 10th overpass strike in a 12-month period, according to provincial data. Each of the nine preceding it was described as the result of either "driver error" or "carrier/driver error."

The day after the collision, Fleming called the continued striking of overpasses in B.C. "absolutely crazy" and promised to raise fines and recover repair costs from truck drivers and companies involved in such crashes.

“Even though 999 out of 1,000 drivers probably do the proper things each and every day as they are moving goods around our region, it just takes one careless, negligent driver to create the kind of traffic congestion and damage to our infrastructure we saw yesterday," Fleming said in a statement at the time.

"That’s unacceptable." Top Stories

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