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Hope’s Othello Tunnels to partially reopen in July

Atmospheric river damage to be repaired at 30 sites in Coquihalla Canyon Park

The popular Othello Tunnels at Coquihalla Canyon Park will be partially reopening this July, a long-awaited announcement since the atmospheric floods in November 2021 damaged the park.

Starting this spring, construction will commence in two phases to repair 30 sites that were damaged during the floods. The first phase will see a partial reopening of the park in July, with the whole trail projected to re-open in the summer of 2025.

“Coquihalla Canyon Park and Othello Tunnels are extremely popular, and their spectacular beauty and unique features provide good reason,” said George Heyman, minister of environment and climate change strategy. “We know people have been waiting a long time for the park to safely open. The damage to this park from the atmospheric river was extensive, and we are designing and rebuilding more resilient infrastructure so it can better withstand the impacts of climate change.”

BC Parks has been working with engineers and professionals to determine how to repair the damage to the park. The first phase will focus on rock slope stabilization and tunnel maintenance, including all five Othello Tunnels. Trail work, debris and resurfacing will also be of focus, as well as raising the trail surface prior to tunnel one. It will also restore facilities and access from the park entrance and parking lot. Phase one is set to be complete this summer.

Phase two will include the stabilization of tunnel five, removal and decommissioning of bridge one and an installation of a new single span bridge. Phase two is expected to be completed in the summer of 2025.

The reopening date of the bridge is dependent on the in-water work occurring at the appropriate time as to not disturb the fish. If the in-water work cannot be completed by the end of April 2025, it will be delayed into the fall.

The total cost of the project is expected to be approximately $4.5 million and is largely supported by the Government of Canada’s Disaster Financial Assistance Fund.

“Council and I welcome the news as this is an important part of our community that we share with our visitors,” mayor of Hope Victor Smith said.

The Othello Tunnels opened in 1914, and Coquihalla Canyon Park preserves an important part of B.C.’s railroad history. The park has been closed to visitors since the atmospheric floods due to safety concerns.

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