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Coquihalla Set to Reopen to Regular Traffic Wednesday Morning, Highway 1 & 99 Update

Coquihalla – On Wednesday, the Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5) will reopen to regular vehicle traffic between Hope and Merritt.

Temporary repairs to the Coquihalla are in place while the ministry plans permanent repairs to the damaged sections. This means travel-pattern changes and reduced speed limits, with the trip between Hope and Merritt taking about 45 minutes longer than normal. This is a high-mountain route that can experience adverse weather and rapidly changing conditions that could require closure with minimal notice.

Transportation Minister Rob Fleming stated that “this is not the Coquhalla that you know”. Some areas remain two lanes (not four) and speed restrictions will prevail.

From BC Transportation and Infrastructure:

The Coquihalla Hwy (Hwy 5) will reopen to all vehicle traffic between Hope and Merritt, providing another route between BC’s Lower Mainland and Interior since last year’s devastating storms.Some sections have one lane only in each direction.

⭐️For everyone’s safety, it’s ESSENTIAL that ALL motorists OBEY THE REDUCED SPEED LIMITS and DO NOT PASS in these sections.

⭐️️The trip between will take about 45 minutes longer than normal. The Coquihalla is a high-mountain route where weather can quickly change for the worse — closure could be required with minimal notice.

👉Be prepared with a winter emergency kit — ie. extra winter clothing, water, food

👉Fuel up before — no fuel for 110 km👉Some rest areas are closed

👉Cell service is limited or challenged

👉Electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations at Britton Creek are not in service. (Nearest charging stations in Hope and Merritt). Temporary repairs are in place while the ministry plans permanent repairs to the damaged sections.

More: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022TRAN0002-000070

On Wednesday, Jan. 19, weight restrictions will be lifted from Highway 99 between Pemberton and Lillooet. However, drivers of large commercial vehicles are discouraged from using this route because of the challenging terrain. It is recommended that only experienced winter drivers travel this route. There is an increased avalanche risk through this corridor, so drivers should be prepared for delays and before travelling should check: DriveBC.ca

In the Fraser Canyon, Highway 1 has partially reopened from Kanaka Bar south of Lytton to Spences Bridge. Drivers can expect delays on this section of Highway 1.

Highway 1 between Kanaka Bar and Hope remains closed. Record snowfalls and recent avalanche risks had delayed work around Jackass Mountain. However, crews are back on site and it is expected the highway will reopen to all vehicle traffic before the end of January.

When Highway 1 in the Fraser Canyon reopens, drivers can expect lengthy delays with additional travel times as long as two hours or longer, depending on the destination. Delays are a result of ongoing repairs, an at-grade train crossing, avalanche control and sections of single-lane alternating traffic, which includes a temporary single-lane bridge at the Jackass Mountain and Nicomen River crossing.

The highway will be open to legal width and weight loading, but loads will be limited to 25 metres in length until the rehabilitation of the highway bridge at Nicomen River is completed.

Drivers are reminded that B.C.’s winter-tire and chain-up regulations are in effect. Other safety tips for winter driving include travelling with a full tank of gas, food and water, and warm clothes. 

flikr/Province of BC

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