Yet again, the Provincial State of Emergency order has been extended for BC.

It was first announced on November 17th, as flooding ravaged the province damaging roadways, especially those on the lower mainland.

Minister of Transportation, Rob Fleming says the order will stay in place until Highways 5 and 99 in that lower mainland region are fully reopened.

“Until we can get these highways open, this order will have to stay in place,” Fleming said in December.

Fleming now adds that work is progressing.

“Work has progressed well while the affected areas have experienced adverse winter conditions,” he says. “While this work continues, the restriction on these highways will have to remain in place for a short while longer to ensure road conditions are safe for those driving and working on them.”

Currently, essential travel restrictions are in place on sections of both of those highways. Highway 5 – the Coquihalla – between Merritt and Hope is only allowing commercial vehicles with a minimum licensed gross vehicle weight of 11,794 kilograms and inter-city busses. And the junction of Highway 99 and Lillooet River Road to the BC Hydro Seton Lake Campsite access in Lillooet is now open to all traffic that weighs less than 14,500 kilograms.

The State of Emergency order allows the government to use “extraordinary powers to protect people and communities.”

Farnworth also took time to thank the road crews who are working hard to return full capacity to these roadways.

“This work is essential in getting vital resources to the people of British Columbia, and once completed will allow for easier access to communities around the province,” says Farnworth. “Thank you to all British Columbians for your ongoing patience and compliance during these challenging times.”

The new end date for the State of Emergency is January 18th.