Long winter highway closures near Revelstoke are common due to avalanche control activities, but unexpected in the summer.
On July 2 at around 8 a.m., the Trans Canada highway was closed approximately 15 km west of Revelstoke due to flooding, no traffic was able to get through until the following morning when the highway opened to single lane alternating traffic while work to clear the water continued.
According to Environment Canada, Revelstoke has received more than 75 mm of rain in the last month. They could not provide average rainfall amounts for Revelstoke. However, the city received 62 mm last year.
Traffic is moving on #BCHwy1 west of Revelstoke. It’s slow going. Please drive with caution as there is still water on the highway. Watch for road and traffic personnel
Stay safe and drive with care#bcflood #revelstoke #emconservices #essentialservices4u #bcstorm pic.twitter.com/cEfFkCU8xY
— EMCON SELKIRK DIV (@EmconD) July 3, 2020
The highway closure saw lineups of semi trucks along the highway, packed truck stops and multiple hour waits at Shelter Bay as well as the Needles Ferry on Highway 23 and Highway 6 south of Revelstoke, as drivers looked for a detour.
Many truck drivers were stuck on the highway overnight, unable to turn their trucks around while others slept in their cars as they were unable to get hotel rooms.
It wasn’t long before the Revelstoke community stepped up to help.
Andrew Parker, one of the traffic controllers working at a stop point on Highway 1, said he reached out on Facebook asking for help and had multiple people reach out to him, delivering pizza to stranded truck drivers.
He worked for 16 hours and made a point of walking down the line to make sure people had water and knew about food delivery options and brought donuts and coffee with him to work the next morning.
One of the delivery services in town, Revelstoke Delivery, made nine deliveries to people stranded on the highway, including a contract from truck company DCT Chambers who ordered food for their drivers who were waiting on the highway.
Cody Younker, councillor for the city of Revelstoke and a manger at South Side Market, made phone calls to DriveBC to share more information with those stranded.
He made calls to hotels and directed people on where to find food. Soon he couldn’t keep up with responses on Twitter and gave out his personal phone number, getting calls from people all night asking for help.
Everyone was polite but some were anxious, he said. They just needed support.
Younker said he also connected people with those offering places to sleep on the Revelstoke Community page, as many people passing through were not be members of the group.
“It was good to see the community pull together,” he said.
Younker handed out snacks and bottles of water to those waiting at the truck stop on the west side of town and Tweeted to DriveBC about the state of the toilets.
He said within 10 minutes EmCon was on site cleaning them out.
The Revelstoke Community Page saw several other offers of food and places to sleep.
The highway reopened to single lane alternating traffic at around 5 p.m. July 3 and opened to two-way traffic at approximately 6 p.m., July 3.
via @driveBC – #BCHwy1 is now open in the #Revelstoke area to single lane alternating traffic due to flooding. Work continues. Expect heavy traffic & delays due to congestion https://t.co/w7HhbjKtyg Thank you for your patience. #goldenbc #sicamous pic.twitter.com/wQrjFmN2IA
— BC Transportation (@TranBC) July 3, 2020