With Highway 5 reopening to essential travel on Monday, Dec. 20, and Highway 3 set to reopen to non-essential traffic on Tuesday, the provincial government is issuing an update on what the roads will look like.
Work on the Coquihalla Highway is still ongoing to repair the significant damage from the November flooding, which washed out seven bridges and kilometres of roadway. Enough progress has been made to allow commercial vehicles access to the road, as long as they meet the minimum gross vehicle weight requirement of 11,794 kilograms.
“The people who build and maintain roads in B.C. have a reputation second to none, and their response to the recent disaster has been remarkable,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Ministry teams, maintenance contractors and hundreds of workers going flat out in challenging conditions have allowed us to reopen the Coquihalla Highway today, giving B.C.’s commercial drivers a safe, efficient route between the coast and Interior.”
With most commercial vehicles moving to Highway 5, travel restrictions will be lifted from Highway 3 at 8 a.m. on Dec. 21, allowing the route between Hope and Princeton to be used for non-essential travel.
Travel restrictions have also been lifted from Highway 99 between Pemberton and Lillooet. However, vehicles over 14,500 kilograms GVW are still not permitted on this section of Highway 99.
When travel restrictions are lifted from Highway 3 and Highway 99, these routes become available for general use. For drivers travelling these highways, the ministry urges preparation and patience. Drivers can expect delays and congestion and are encouraged to consider alternate options or avoid highway travel unless necessary.
The government is warning drivers to remain careful even after the highways reopen, as the mountainous terrain and weather conditions can change quickly. Winter tire and chain regulations are in effect on the highways, and while road maintenance crews are being deployed, it is still on travellers to be ready for the conditions and to check DriveBC before leaving on their trips.
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