Photos: The catastrophic damage that severed B.C. from the rest of Canada
For one of the only times since the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railroad in 1885, every single Canadian land route to the Pacific has been cut. Extreme rains brought a series of devastating floods and landslides that have severed the Trans Canada Highway, the Coquihalla Highway and both major rail lines over the Rocky Mountains. Unstable conditions have also forced the closure of the Trans Mountain pipeline and critical gas pipelines serving the City of Vancouver.
The coming days are poised to yield any number of supply chain crises across Western Canada; bare grocery store shelves in Kelowna, backed-up grain shipments throughout the prairies and gasoline shortages across Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland. But as Canada grapples with the economic storm from the disaster in B.C., here is a gallery of photos – all of them taken by agencies at the front lines of the response – showing just what B.C. is dealing with.
Highway crews assess the damage wrought by a landslide along Highway 7, one of two road links connecting Vancouver to Hope, B.C. and communities beyond. This was actually among the less destructive washouts B.C. suffered on Monday. Barring any removal of the asphalt, this is the kind of blockage that can feasibly be pushed aside by a handful of excavators. As shown below, many washouts didn’t just scour roads from the map, but utterly reshaped the terrain on which they used to lie.
The Tank Hill Railroad Bridge featured in the above photos was never supposed to span a waterway. But that’s the current scene after mudslides completely obliterated the section of Trans Canada Highway that usually runs underneath it, leaving the Tank Hill Railroad Bridge clinging to life above an impromptu rush of floodwaters. This all occurred near Lytton, B.C., the village that was almost destroyed by fire in June only hours after setting Canada’s highest temperature record.
This is the view from the back of an RCAF Cormorant helicopter as crews from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron rescued 311 people (as well as 26 dogs and a cat) after their cars became trapped between landslides near Agassiz, B.C., a community at the eastern edge of the Fraser Valley.