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VIDEO: Emil Anderson Group reflects back on career-defining efforts to fix B.C.’s atmospheric-river damage

Repair work saw 300 workers, 200+ pieces of equipment, move 400,000 cubic metres of material

Chilliwack-based Emil Anderson Group is looking back one year later at some of the unbelievable moments from their career-defining response to the atmospheric river events of 2021.

The unprecedented rain caught everyone by surprise, washing out sections of highway and bridge decks across B.C., stranding people on roadways, and forcing folks from their homes.

Emil Anderson crews and contractors ended up being central to the mammoth rebuilding and recovery efforts, and the award-winning team has put together a video documenting its significant role in the aftermath between the two major rain events.

“The perseverance and dedication that every single person on our team showed to get these communities reconnected was incredible,” said Robert Hasell, president/CEO of Emil Anderson Group. “It is truly a testament to the expertise and hard work of the men and women that were involved at every step of the process, surprising us all with the speed in which the roads were able to reopen safely and significantly ahead of schedule.”

Together with Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure officials, Emil Anderson and other contractors immediately got to work, toiling around the clock in challenging conditions to repair and rebuild damaged infrastructure, bringing in over 300 workers, 200+ pieces of heavy equipment and moving over 400,000 cubic metres of material in the weeks that followed.

It was logistically “overwhelming” since many of the roads connecting the various regions and supporting the B.C. economy were critically damaged.

Everyone was blown away by the “sheer scale of destruction,” but they also witnessed “the best of humanity” emerge from the chaos, he said. Hasell is the great-grandson of the company founder Emil Anderson.

The team worked alongside the first-responder teams, working to help save the Barrowtown Pump Station, and rescuing people from flooded roads, the team managed it all alongside the Ministry of Transportation Staff, dedicated local volunteers and community members and stakeholders of the Fraser Valley.

The Coquihalla highway needed extensive repairs at 20 key junctions along a 130-kilometre section between Hope and Merritt.

Right up to today, crews are still chipping away at flood repairs along roads and highways throughout the region, including major projects along Highway 5 Coquihalla.

The name Emil Anderson is well-known in the eastern Fraser Valley - and across B.C. – for infrastructure construction, road maintenance, traffic management, land development, and more.

The original company was officially founded by Emil Anderson in 1938 in Ontario.

Emil Anderson’s son, Carl, moved from Ontario to supervise work on the Alaska Highway. Emil Anderson Construction was awarded a four-year contract in 1945 to build the western half of the Hope-Princeton Highway. Carl Anderson relocated to Hope to supervise this project, and in 1950 Emil Anderson moved the remaining operations from Ontario to establish the head office in Hope.

RELATED: 2017 saw multiple awards for Emil Anderson

RELATED: Chilliwack chose Emil Anderson to rebuild Vedder Bridge

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Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering city hall, Indigenous, business, and climate change stories.
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