The B.C. government has 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.
“It’s great to see that this important work along Highway 5 is now complete,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “These new chain-up and chain-off areas, along with the important lane improvements, will create a safer, more reliable and efficient corridor for travellers and trade during the winter months. Our government is proud to support projects that support economic development, while improving traffic-flow and driver safety.”
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 is a game-changer for truck drivers travelling north on Highway 5, who had to either wait in the right lane to get into Box Canyon, or pull over and chain up on the shoulder during winter months,” said Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan, on behalf of Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “This massive expansion at the existing chain-up, with a new chain-off area at the Coquihalla summit, gives truck drivers safe locations and more room off the highway to deal with chains, and keeps other traffic moving.”
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.
Follow the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure's work online: http://www.tranbc.ca