There is no estimate on when Highway 17 east of Mattawa at Bissett Creek can reopen.

The Ministry of Transportation says it’s working as quickly as it can to repair the highway which has forced a massive detour for east and westbound traffic.

The MTO says the water from Bissett Creek running over the road has caused massive damage to the shoulder and embankment on both sides of Highway 17.

Water began backing up at the site when a culvert became blocked.

The culvert is under nine metres of water and that’s preventing the ministry from assessing the condition of the culvert.

In the interim, the MTO is having a temporary culvert installed at the site to lower the water level.

Once the level is down then the damage assessment can begin and the repair work can begin.

Although the ministry is working as quickly as it can to repair the highway so it can reopen to traffic, safety is the number one priority and the MTO says it will not let traffic back on the roadway until it’s declared safe.

Flooding has virtually washed out the shoulder of Highway 17 at Bissett Creek. Photo credit: MTO

Part of the work involves bringing a Ground Penetrating Radar to the site to see if the highway itself has been affected in any way underneath.

If the radar detects issues, the MTO and its engineers will need to make recommendations on how to move forward.

Highway 17 at Bissett Creek was closed on Monday when the flooding began.

Eastbound traffic has to take Highway 11 toward Huntsville and connect with Highway 60 which runs through Algonquin Park and passes through Renfrew before re-connecting with Highway 17.