Coquihalla – It’s the dog days of summer, scorching heat of August, so the last thing you would think of, would be a chain up to drive through the snow on the Coquihalla.
Still, Highway maintenance have completed a significant capacity increase at the Box Canyon chain-up on the Coquihalla.
Along with the new chain-off area, this will improve safety for commercial vehicle operators driving north during the winter months. The summit sees an average of 11,800 vehicles daily, and 29% of those are transport trucks.
The previous chain-up facility was about 1,180 square metres and could hold up to 14 commercial vehicles at a time. The new, expanded chain-up is roughly 25,550 square metres and is able to accommodate more than 70 commercial vehicles at the same time, more than five times the previous capacity.
The expansion at Box Canyon, approximately 32 kilometres north of Hope, includes new deceleration and acceleration lanes to make it easier for truck drivers to safely get on and off the highway. The project involved the construction of a new chain-off area at the Coquihalla summit, as well as an extension of the third southbound lane exiting the Great Bear Snow Shed.
This $17.6-million project is cost-shared, with the Government of Canada contributing up to $7.3 million through the Building Canada Fund, and the Province providing the remaining $10.3 million.
- The Coquihalla summit had a total snowfall of 830 centimetres from Oct. 1, 2017, to the end of February 2018. This snowfall was 114% higher than the 10-year average.
- From Oct. 1 to March 31 each year, truck drivers using British Columbia’s mountain passes are required to use chains.
- For select highways, including mountain passes and rural routes in high snowfall areas, the date is extended until April 30 to account for early-spring snowfall.
- This safety regulation helps reduce the number of accidents, improves highway safety, and helps to keep the highway open.