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Abandoned transport trucks are seen on the Trans-Canada Highway in a flooded area of Abbotsford, B.C., on Nov. 16.DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

The widespread flooding in British Columbia has forced Trans Mountain Pipeline Corp. to shut down its pipeline system and suspend work on its expansion project.

The deadly storm that hammered B.C. with heavy rain brought floods and mudslides, stranded drivers, destroyed sections of highway and forced thousands of people to flee their homes. Search-and-rescue crews and the Canadian Armed Forces are helping with the response.

Trans Mountain said it shut down the pipeline system as a precaution, owing to widespread flooding and debris in British Columbia and Washington State. More than 20 communities across B.C. received more than 100 millimetres of rain between Saturday morning and Monday night, according to Environment Canada.

“In order to restart the pipeline, we need to complete an assessment of the system in affected areas and are undertaking that work by air and on the ground,” the company said in a statement.

Construction on the Trans Mountain expansion project has been halted in the Fraser Valley, Coquihalla and Interior regions of B.C. hit by the deluge.

Trans Mountain said inspections of worksites and equipment are under way, and construction will restart when it’s safe and practical to do so.

The company said it is in contact with emergency officials and has offered assistance, including beds for evacuees at its Merritt work camp.

The 1,150-kilometre pipeline transports crude oil, refined and semi-refined products from Edmonton to the West Coast at Burnaby in Metro Vancouver. It has a capacity of 300,000 barrels a day.

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