At least three weeks after devastating mudslides that have taken five lives, shipping operations are set to resume with increasing speed on the devastated Trans-Canada Highway from Prince George through the town of Bulkley/Comox to Prince Rupert.
The stretch has been closed for ten days since a record 29 cubic-metre (808 cubic-feet-per-second) rainstorm struck in the early morning hours of October 20, causing flash flooding in the North American region.
CP Rail told Fox News on Friday that due to limited transportation options, more trains would be running this weekend with two more expected to depart from Prince George, with an additional four scheduled from Prince Rupert, for resumption in the early morning of November 8.
Crews are continuing to work to restore service to two locations around Prince George where the rail line runs adjacent to waterways.
CP Rail said it is also in discussions with its port partners in Prince Rupert and Port St. John as well as the ports of Prince George and Abbotsford to expedite the movement of rail freight in areas that do not typically serve cargo facilities.
Some rail traffic between Fort St. John and the port of Prince Rupert continues and there are also some customers with destinations in Victoria, according to Brian Jackson, CP’s senior regional manager.
A route for continued shipping service north to Prince Rupert on the North Coast is being studied by CP Rail.
Three shipping containers from the Kelowna Regional Co-op and a payload of parts were found in the Nanaimo River, just north of Prince Rupert, last Saturday.
No one has been found in that area since the mudslides. BC Ambulance said it was still looking into the case.
The BC Coroners Service has established a formal team to investigate the cause of the mudslides, which includes multiple photos of the scene, soil, satellite imagery and construction data.
In an interview on Wednesday, RCMP Superintendent Scott Yarbrough said the number of missing and presumed dead could rise.
Police have not stated that a specific number of people has been killed but acknowledge the official toll is five, with two victims under the age of 17.
Yarbrough said the investigation will focus on the region’s storm response as well as the structural integrity of the homes damaged in the mudslides.
“Without knowing everything that happened, it’s hard to give a firm number,” Yarbrough said.
Prince George Mayor Scott Fairbairn told reporters Monday the amount of building work underway around the town is unprecedented.
“We’re not going to get over this on a short-term basis,” Fairbairn said. “I know it feels like it’s an indeterminate amount of time to recover, but the fact of the matter is we’ve seen this before and we’ve recovered.”
With files from Fox News
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