UPDATE: Limited Trans-Canada reopening after fatal crash at Malakwa

An April 9 crash involving two passing tractor-trailers on the Malakwa Bridge claimed the life of one driver, damaged the bridge and closed the Trans-Canada Highway for about 19 hours.



Listed below first is a summary of the story, followed by a list of live updates on the event in blog format: reverse chronological order.

An April 9 crash involving two passing tractor-trailers on the Malakwa Bridge claimed the life of one driver, damaged the bridge and closed the Trans-Canada Highway for about 19 hours.

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Dan Moskaluk says the crash happened at about 8:20 p.m. when an eastbound truck hauling a wide load made contact with a westbound truck, sending the latter crashing into the side of the bridge, killing the driver, a 29-year-old Abbotsford man. His identity has not been released. The driver of the other truck received only very minor injuries.

The impact tore out the guardrail and damaged three beams on the bridge. Debris from the shattered truck was strewn into the river below. The truck then caught on fire, charring parts of the truck and the bridge.

B.C. Ministry of Transportation spokesperson Jeff Knight said the incident caused extensive delays for several reasons. Police had to investigate the crash, then the truck had to be removed from the scene. Engineers then had to assess damage to the bridge, and temporary repairs then had to be made.

Traffic backed up for kilometres on either side, and hundreds of people were stranded in Revelstoke on Saturday night and into Sunday night.

Others took an extensive detour around the crash, causing two and three-hour delays at the Upper Arrow Lakes ferry.

As of press time Monday morning, the bridge is still restricted to single-lane, alternating traffic due to ongoing repairs to the bridge.

The Revelstoke-based Trans-Canada East Traffic Services continue to investigate the incident.

Reverse chronological order updates:

9:45 p.m.

The latest update from Drive BC is Malakwa Bridge is at single-lane alternating and trucks are now being allowed on one at a time.

Also, the Upper Arrow Lakes Ferry from Galena Bay to Shelter Bay is congested in both directions.

As of 9 p.m., Drive BC is reporting a two-hour delay at Galena Bay and three-hour delay at Shelter Bay.

4:25 p.m.

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Dan Moskaluk has confirmed that a Lower Mainland man died in the collision on the Malakwa Bridge on April 9.

Moskaluk says the incident involved an eastbound tractor-trailer hauling a wide load and an empty westbound tractor trailer

They clipped each other on the bridge.

The impact caused the westbound truck to impact the side of the bridge, killing the driver. The driver of the eastbound truck hauling the wide-load received only minor injuries.

RCMP continue to investigate the incident, and Moskaluk said officers remained on scene as of 4 p.m. Sunday.

3:40 p.m.

Ministry of Transportation spokesperson Jeff Knight confirmed the Malakwa Bridge on the Trans-Canada at Malakwa is now open to single-lane, alternating traffic for passenger vehicles only. He said it opened sometime just before 3:30 p.m.

Commercial vehicles are still not allowed over the bridge, which was damaged in a crash on April 9.

Knight said crews are working on temporary fixes to the bridge that will allow commercial trucks to cross it. Those repairs will likely not be completed until sometime this evening. When complete, only one commercial truck at a time will be allowed over the bridge for the time being. Additional repairs will continue tomorrow.

He said flaggers would remain on site 24-hours a day.

Expect delays. The highway has been closed for about 19 hours. Traffic is backed up for kilometres in both directions.

“It’s going to take a while to clear the queues on each side,” Knight said.

The Times Review is still awaiting an update from the RCMP on the incident.

2:47 p.m.:

Update from Lachlan Labere of the Eagle Valley News:

The Malakwa Bridge remains closed following a two-vehicle collision Saturday night.

Witnesses report a westbound semi tractor-trailer was sideswiped while crossing the bridge at around 8:30 p.m. by an oncoming semi hauling a flatbed. The eastbound truck continued on, while the westbound semi is said to have collided with the bridge. The damage to the semi was severe enough to require an Eagle Valley Rescue Society crew to extricate the driver from the cab.

Fire crews on the scene also had to deal with a resulting engine fire.

Engineers have been called to the scene to inspect structural damage to the bridge, which has remained closed since the incident and may open late Sunday afternoon, though Drive BC reports low confidence that this will occur.

The Eagle Valley News will continue to provide updates when information is available.

2:05 p.m.:

B.C. Ministry of Transportation spokesperson Jeff Knight just contacted the Times Review and said he’d provide an update in one hour to 90 minutes.

“We’re waiting for our engineers,” Knight to the Times Review. He didn’t have other comments beside that on the situation.

However, just minutes ago Drive BC tweeted that three bridge beams on the Malakwa Bridge had been damaged in the crash on the night of April 9. They say crews are assessing the load impact on the bridge and are now recommending a detour around the bridge.

They recommend a 6-hour detour along Highway 97, Highway 6 and Highway 23.

The estimated time of reopening for the bridge is “hard to say” Drive BC reports. “More to come,” they state.

The Times Review has put in a request for information with the RCMP Southeast District communications centre but have not received a report, though the RCMP have indicated they are in the process of preparing a report on the incident.

Check back to www.revelstoketimesreview.com for more updates or follow us on Twitter @RevelstokeTimes.

12:00 p.m.:

REVELSTOKE – The Revelstoke Times Review is working on a story on the ongoing closure of the Trans-Canada Highway between Sicamous and Craigellachie.

Confirmed details are still sparse. The incident occurred on the Malakwa Bridge sometime before midnight on April 9. A tractor-trailer unit was involved in a crash on the bridge. Eagle Valley Rescue Society responded to the incident to help extricate the driver of the truck.

The latest from Drive BC is the estimated time of opening is 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 10. Drive BC is expressing low confidence in that estimate. Drive BC has pushed back the estimated opening time since the incident occurred.

The Times Review has contacted the Ministry of Transportation and is awaiting official comment from them.

Early, unconfirmed reports indicate there is some concern about structural integrity of the bridge following the crash. This remains unconfirmed. The Times Review will provide updates at www.revelstoketimesreview.com when information is available.

Were you a witness to this incident? Contact Aaron Orlando at 250-814-8710 or email him at editor@revelstoketimesreview.com.

Correction: An earlier version of this story mentioned “Eagle Valley Search & Rescue.” In fact, the group is known at Eagle Valley Rescue Society.