Coquihalla – At a December 9 briefing, the BC Transportation Minister Rob Fleming dropped some great news and an early Christmas present.
The re-construction of the most severely damaged parts of the Coquihalla Highway could be ready for commercial use by early January.
Fleming said “we’re throwing everything we have” at repairs along the Coquihalla.
DECEMBER TRAVEL UPDATE Coquihalla Hwy – targeting early January opening for commercial vehicles (weather dependent)Hwy 3 (Hope to Princeton) and Hwy 99 (Pemberton to Lillooet) – will remain restricted essential travel over the holiday seasonHwy 1 Fraser Canyon (Boothroyd to Spences Bridge) – targeting mid January opening.
Until the Coquihalla can reopen to commercial traffic with temporary repairs, Hwy 3 must be kept open primarily for transport trucks moving essential goods, as it’s the only commercial vehicle route linking the Lower Mainland to interior and northern BC. About 3,000 trucks travel daily on that route, and with the highway’s steep grades and tights curves, it would be unsafe to add leisure travellers in private passenger vehicles.
SAFETY IS ALWAYS OUR NUMBER ONE PRIORITY
Hwy 99 has very steep grades, tight corners and narrow stretches. That’s why it will continue to be restricted to essential vehicles no larger than a cube truck. Once the Coquihalla Hwy reopens to commercial trucks, we can look at lifting the travel restrictions on Hwy 3 and possibly Hwy 99.
HOLIDAY TRAVEL OPTIONS: Bus transportation from the Lower Mainland to Kelowna and Kamloops is available. These commercial passenger transport vehicles, driven by professional drivers, will be permitted to travel Hwy 3. More air travel options are coming online as airlines work to increase their capacity from Vancouver and Abbotsford airports into the Interior.
Fleming’s Comments are here: