Drivers are advised to prepare for more winter weather conditions and possible delays when travelling to and from the Interior for the remainder of the week.
After a mild start to the season, winter has arrived and heavy snowfall is expected later today, Thursday and Friday.
Environment Canada has issued a travel advisory for the Coquihalla Highway from Hope to Merritt, as up to 30 centimetres of snow is expected to fall in the region by end of day today. Independent forecasters suggest that could be followed by waves of heavy snowfall that continue through Friday. This follows a previous weather system that delivered approximately 25 centimetres of snow earlier this week.
So far this week, VSA Maintenance has implemented the Coquihalla Snowshed Protocol for 52 hours and anticipates that it will be implemented again to deal with the forecast. The protocol is a comprehensive 10-step plan to ensure safe highway conditions are maintained through the corridor during heavy snowfall or other challenging weather systems.
A mandatory chain-up has been in effect as required for commercial vehicle operators, who are reminded of the enhanced regulations requiring an increase in the number of chains on their trucks, depending on weight and configuration. The new Box Canyon facility is intended for chain-up only and overnight parking is not permitted.
Commercial truck drivers are also reminded of the no trucks in the left lane pilot project, which restricts them from using the far-left lane on Snowshed Hill. This allows for better traffic flow (including emergency vehicles) and plowing operations, as well as significantly reducing the time it takes to get people moving after a full closure.
Drivers are reminded to slow down, drive to conditions and check DriveBC.ca and @DriveBC on Twitter for the most up-to-date information.
Winter tire regulations are in effect and people travelling on highways in the southern Interior and North must equip vehicles with winter tires, with a minimum tread depth of 3.5 millimetres. For mountain passes and rural highways, mountain/snowflake tires offer the best traction in winter driving conditions.
For more information on the Coquihalla Snowshed Protocol, visit: https://www.tranbc.ca/2016/01/12/the-coquihalla-snowshed-protocol-10-steps-to-highway-safety/
For tips on planning ahead during winter driving conditions, visit: https://shiftintowinter.ca/