BC's Coquihalla Highway reopens to essential commercial traffic

Dec 20 2021, 5:14 pm

The Coquihalla Highway reopened to transport trucks at 9 am Monday, the province announced in a news release.

Since November 14, the critical highway connecting Metro Vancouver to BC’s Interior has been closed when a record-breaking atmospheric river washed away huge chunks of the road.

“The people who build and maintain roads in BC have a reputation second to none, and their response to the recent disaster has been remarkable,” Transport Minister Rob Fleming said in a news release.”Ministry teams, maintenance contractors, and hundreds of workers going flat out in challenging conditions have allowed us to reopen the Coquihalla Highway today, giving BC’s commercial drivers a safe, efficient route between the coast and Interior.”

Right now, only essential commercial vehicles with a minimum licensed gross vehicle weight of 11,894 kilograms may drive on the Coquihalla Highway.

“Having [the] use of the Coquihalla Highway brings more predictability to the movement of goods through British Columbia,” Dave Earle, president and CEO of the BC Trucking Association, said in a news release. “This an important step toward restoring our supply chain, and our members appreciate the extraordinary efforts of everyone involved.”

Driving on Highway 5 will not be the same as before the storm. Much of the corridor still doesn’t have electricity restored, and many washroom facilities have not reopened.

The repairs to the road area were also temporary, meaning there are still many construction zones and areas where traffic flow will be reduced.

Travel restrictions lifting for other highways

With big rigs diverted to the Coquihalla, the BC government is lifting essential-only travel restrictions on the other open highways.

Highway 3 will reopen to non-essential traffic at 8 am on Tuesday, December 21, between Hope and Princeton.

Travel restrictions on Highway 99 between Pemberton and Lillooet were also lifted Monday morning. No vehicles over 14,500 kilograms are allowed on that stretch of road.

“Highway 3 and Highway 99 are mountainous highways where weather conditions can change quickly, and people should be comfortable driving in winter conditions,” the government said in its release. “The province’s maintenance contractors are out in full force, but it is important that drivers do their part and drive to conditions, and check DriveBC before setting out.”

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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