An unfortunate incident at Raft River Bridge closed Highway 5 on Sunday, July 10 for about 15 hours. I realized that something was wrong when cars and trucks were backing up all the way to Miller subdivision. As the afternoon progressed we learned that the highway would be closed from 12 to 24 hours.
Once word was out many cars and trucks decided to turn around and try their luck with an alternate route. In the end it was mainly tractor trailers, camping trailers and small trucks that decided to stay.
Within a few hours the highway had stopped. Instead of cars and trucks and trailers, I saw people riding their bikes, skateboarding, walking their dogs, kids playing, people casually strolling up and down the highway. I had never seen the highway so quiet!
Late in the afternoon I made my way to Dee’s Store in Birch Island. It was packed with travellers looking for food supplies and gasoline. Rumour had it that the Vavenby store had already run out of bread. Several campers had found spots along Norris Road where they planned to spend the night.
By now it was early evening. I strolled along the highway towards the accident scene. Lounge chairs were set out on the road; one camper had set up his tent on the shoulder; people were settling down for the night and the long wait. There was almost a festive air to the whole event.
A big bouquet of roses goes out to some of our citizens who took it upon themselves to help out. I saw Brenda Griffith distributing bottled water to stranded travellers; Daryl and Pearl McRae of Miller subdivision delivered food and refreshments to the flaggers.
If life is a highway, as Tom Cochrane says, then the best of human nature emerged on Highway 5 that day!