Maintaining Safety – Winter on the Coquihalla

Coquihalla Summit

Set in the rain shadow of the Coastal Mountains, the Coquihalla is an awe-inspiring drive any time of year, but it can also be a demanding one, especially in winter.

The highway climbs about 1,200 metres before reaching the summit, and it’s subjected to many different microclimates along the way. What starts out as dry, powdery snow can quickly turn wet and slushy as you head south towards the coast.

And it’s not just the different types of snow that are a problem, either – it’s how much that falls. Here’s a little fun fact: the Coquihalla has some of the highest annual snowpacks in the province. Despite its altitude, the weather is generally warmer than other mountain passes, which can lead to more melting/freezing cycles and more problems with ice.

Keeping up with the winter weather along this route is a challenge, and our maintenance contractors use a variety of equipment and techniques to keep the road open for traffic. In addition to the regular sanding/salting, our contractors will use loaders and excavators to push and pile the snow away from the road. Also, the barriers we installed to increase safety for motorists can make plowing more difficult, so snow blowers are used here more often than anywhere else in the province.

We have three maintenance contractors that work 24 hours a day, seven days a week trying to keep the highway open. In case you’ve ever wondered, here’s who they are and the areas they cover (and here’s a full list of our maintenance contractors):

Maintenance Contractor:

Location:

Emil Anderson Maintenance Between Hope and Portia Bridge
Yellowhead Road & Bridge (Nicola) Ltd. Between Portia Bridge and Merritt and between Merritt and Walloper, near Lac La Jeune
Argo Road Maintenance (Thompson) Between Walloper and Kamloops

We’re always looking to make our roads as safe as possible, so we set high standards for our maintenance contractors to meet, and we work closely with them to make sure they deliver. Even with these measures in place, weather can be unpredictable. Sudden storms can see snow and ice build up quickly on the road, even after a plow has just passed, so it’s important to make sure you and your vehicle are ready for the trip and drive safely. That said, sometimes it just isn’t possible to keep the highway in drivable condition. Our first priority is to keep people safe, so if the road is too dangerous, we`ll close it down until we can get things under control. Of course if the route closes, there are others you can take to get to your destination, like Highway 1.

Regardless of what’s going on, if there’s something you need to know about this route, we’re working to keep you informed. Whether through safe winter driving tips, advisory signs or using Twitter, DriveBC or our webcams we’re getting the word out there to alert drivers about current conditions.

If you plan on driving the Coquihalla, or anywhere else, this winter, please make sure to plan ahead and check the current conditions. You’ll be helping yourself and doing other drivers a favour, too.

 

Page 1 of 128 comments on “Maintaining Safety – Winter on the Coquihalla”

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    • Hi Amanda,

      Thanks for connecting with us here. Winter weather can happen at any time, especially on high mountain passes like the Coquihalla. The best advice we can give you is to be prepared for any conditions, give yourself plenty of time to travel and to check DriveBC.ca before you leave, so that you can know what lies ahead of you. If you do encounter conditions that aren’t suitable for motorbikes, BC Highway 1, through the Fraser Canyon is another, low level (read: less snow) option to consider. We hope that this is helpful.

      Reply
  1. I was wondering if there another route from Vancouver to Calgary without going through mountain passes. I don’t care if it is a longer route

    Reply
    • Good afternoon Sara,

      Thanks for your message. Our top bits of advice are for you to give yourself plenty of time to travel, know which route you are taking, check DriveBC.ca before you go and along your trip wherever possible, so that you can be aware of any road conditions you might encounter. Carry essentials in your car (food, chargers, clothes) in case you are stopped unexpectedly. Hope that this is helpful – have a good trip.

      Reply
  2. I am driving from Vancouver to Alberta this March, will I need winter tires on my car? What are the typical road conditions that I might expect?

    Reply
  3. How often are road maintenance crews required to clear snow, sand/salt the highway? Particularly at the summit? Driving through before Christmas, and looking at the highway from the drive.bc cameras over the last few weeks, there seem to be very little snow being cleared during the snow storms, also there are huge patches of road up there that have not only had very little snow clearing, but also no salt or sanding being done.

    Reply
    • Hi Yvonne. The Coquihalla experienced record snowfall in the days leading to Christmas, receiving a total of 122 cm of snow between Dec 19 and Dec 21. This was an extreme storm for any contractor to manage, and Yellowhead Road and Bridge had a significant amount of equipment and resources working to manage the storm.

      Here’s a video that describes protocol on the Coquihalla during winter storms: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfPY2Ubmi2I&feature=emb_title

      The new maintenance contract requires contractors to adhere to improved measures that require a more proactive approach to winter maintenance. These changes include:

      – Returning Class A highways (i.e. Coquihalla) to bare pavement within 24 hours of a winter weather event ending (previously 48 hours) at temperatures of warmer than minus nine degrees, when de-icing chemical use is effective.
      – Increasing patrol frequency to 90 minutes on a Class A highways (i.e. Coquihalla) during a snow storm (previously four hours).
      – When a weather event is forecasted to occur, increasing the patrol frequency to four hours in anticipation of the weather event coming (previously 24 hours).
      – Requiring the use of remote weather information systems to forecast when a weather event will occur and to spread anti-icing chemicals prior to the weather event.

      Hope this information helps. If you ever see a problem on the Coquihalla, I encourage you to report it to Yellowhead Road and Bridge Nicola: 1 888 899-9854

      Reply
  4. I am driving from Vancouver to Kamloops this weekend (October 19-21). Weather forecast is mid to high teens (celcius) and I do not have snow tires. Will I be fined even though the snow tires will most likely not be required for the drive?

    Reply
    • Hi Loretta,

      A winter tire must be labelled with either of the following:

      The letters “M” and “S”, the minimum legal requirement (mud + snow/all season tires)
      The 3-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol (ome manufacturers label with both the mountain snowflake and the M+S symbol)

      Mountain snowflake tires offer better traction on snow and ice. We recommend drivers install mountain/snowflake tires for cold weather driving and, for extreme conditions, carry chains. A legal winter tire (on a standard passenger vehicle or a four-wheel/all-wheel vehicle) MUST also have at least 3.5 mm of tread depth. If you have either of these tires on your vehicle, you should be fine travelling the route – although we encourage you to check DriveBC before you go, in case the weather turns quickly (which can happen quickly in high mountain passes). Summer tires are not recommended for driving between October 1 and March 31 and chains on summer tires are not an acceptable substitute for legal winter tires on signed B.C. highways. Here is a link to more info on winter driving requirements in BC: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/driving-and-cycling/traveller-information/seasonal/winter-driving

      Summer tires are not recommended for driving between October 1 and March 31 and chains on summer tires are not an acceptable substitute for legal winter tires on signed B.C. highways.

      Reply
  5. Hi,

    I am looking to travel this highway in early May and am wondering will I need winter tires or not and how will the roads be?

    Reply
    • Hi Tyler,

      We can’t say with any certainty what the roads will be like in May, however you should expect snow at higher elevations across BC. Winter rated tires or tires labelled M+S qualify as winter tires (with a minimum tread depth of 3.5 mm). Check http://www.drivebc.ca before you go, give yourself plenty of time, drive carefully and be prepared with warm clothes, food and water and gas, should you need to stop for any reason. Thanks for connecting with us here. Safe and happy trails!

      Reply
  6. Hi there!

    I am driving up to Vernon and Kelowna tomorroow
    Which highway is the safest right now? Coquihalla has snow on it. It’s my first time driving to that area and I heard it’s elevated.

    Reply
    • Hi there,

      Thanks for connecting with us here. We hope your trip went well. Yes, there will be snow in the mountains and at high elevations across BC until well into May in some places. Best to check http://www.DriveBC.ca to get a sense of road conditions before you go, so that you can plan a route that works best for you. Typically Highway 1 through the Fraser Canyon sees less snow, however it is longer than the Coquihalla. Highway 3 is another alternate route to the interior, but it can also get snow at high elevations. Always be prepared for poor weather, give yourself plenty of time and drive carefully. Safe travels!

      Reply
  7. Hi there,

    I am planning to go to Kamloops from Langley on March 2nd. Is there a way to avoid the Coquihalla (Highway 5). Will I require winter tires?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hello, thanks for connecting with us here.

      Yes, you will need winter tires to travel the Coquihalla (winter tire legislation is in effect from October 1 – March 31). You could take Highway 1 (Fraser Canyon) to Kamloops, which is a lower elevation, but winter tires are also required for this route.

      What is a Legal Winter Tire in B.C.?

      A legal winter tire (on a standard passenger vehicle or a four-wheel/all-wheel vehicle) MUST have at least 3.5 mm of tread depth.

      A winter tire must be labelled with either of the following:

      The letters “M” and “S”, the minimum legal requirement (mud + snow/all season tires)
      The 3-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol (some manufacturers label with both the mountain snowflake and the M+S symbol)

      Mountain snowflake tires offer better traction on snow and ice. We recommend drivers install mountain/snowflake tires for cold weather driving and, for extreme conditions, carry chains.

      Summer tires are not recommended for driving between October 1 and March 31 and chains on summer tires are not an acceptable substitute for legal winter tires on signed B.C. highways.

      Here’s a link to more information on driving in winter through BC: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/driving-and-cycling/traveller-information/seasonal/winter-driving

      Reply
  8. I am planning to drive to kelowna from regina in last week of April 2017. My only concern is how the roads gone be after calgary. Do I need to wait few more weeks to drive or not? any help will be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
  9. As I mentioned above, I am planning to drive from Vancouver to Vernon in mid-March. I do have “M&S” logo on my tires. Is there any route (Vancouver to Vernon) that I cannot take because it requires snow tires? Thank you.

    Reply
  10. What month will the Coquihalla usually be clear of snow? Is April usually good? I am trying to plan a trip from Vancouver to Sparkling Hill in Vernon, but am worried about the road conditions. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Eva. Winter tire regulations are in effect until March 31, but the Coquihalla can still experience snow in April. We really suggest checking DriveBC.ca for the latest road conditions/weather before heading out.

      Reply
  11. Thank you for the quick reply. If the weather is nice (no snow) and I choose to, is it legal for me to drive on the Coquihalla Highway to Vernon in mid-March without snow or M+S tires? Would I get pulled over for not having snow or M+S tires? If so, is there any other routes that do not require snow/M+S tires? Thanks in advance.

    Reply
  12. I am planning to drive from Vancouver to Vernon in mid-March. I have all seasons tires. Is it mandatory to have snow tires if I drive on the Coquihalla Highway? If so, is there another route I can take to avoid the Coquihalla Highway? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi J. Check your sidewall for the M+S logo (Mud and Snow). These tires, with at least 3.5mm tread depth, are acceptable on the Coquihalla Highway (which is the most direct route to Vernon from Vancouver). Highway 1 and Highway 3 are options, but they also require M+S tires.

      Reply
  13. Hi, I am hoping to drive from winnipeg Manitoba to Langley BC the first week of March. I have never driven down the mountain and I am a new driver. I do have snow tires and I can get chains. Is the mountain in very bad condition in March?

    Reply
  14. Hello, I am needing to move back to Vancouver from Calgary on Dec 23rd. I have a front wheel drive sedan with all season tire and has at least 3.5mm of tread left. Would it be safe to drive back through Coquihalla or is there another route I can take? Thanks in advance

    Reply
  15. thinking of driving up during remembrance day, how would the weather be like there?
    is it better to just have winter tires on or bring chains ?

    Reply
    • Hi Tony,

      DriveBC, our traveller information system, is always your best bet for up to the minute condition and closure information. You can also check out the webcams of road condition info and access weather forecast for the Coquihalla there. It’s a great tool!

      Reply
  16. We are driving to Vancouver from Prince George on December 2nd, 2016. Which would be the safest route for that time of year? Any advice is appreciated.Thank you

    Reply
  17. Hi I am planing to Drive in 5th of November from Vancouver to Kelowna. I have M+S tire do i still need to place the winter tire. what would you suggest? please advise me.

    Reply
  18. I would like to travel from Edmonton to Vancouver at the end of October. What route would you advise (easiest/fastest/safest) and what weather should I expect?

    Reply
  19. Is there any accessible information on when the last time the road was salted? Its always a question going through motorcyclists head as May draws near

    Reply
    • Hi Brandon,

      Our maintenance contractors monitor road conditions closely in their areas to ensure that they are cleared and sanded or salted as required. We recommend that you check DriveBC for BC HighwayCam images along the Coquihalla. Each of our webcams also have a weather icon which you can click for more information about weather along the route. If you have any questions or concerns about maintenance work along any portion of BC highway, please contact the maintenance contractor directly. Here is a link to the list of our contractors across the province: http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/popular-topics/maps/serviceareacontacts.htm#map

      Reply
  20. hii
    i was wondering i have new winter tires at front and new al season tires at toyota camry solara 2002. Would there be any problem if i travel with these tires . pls confirm
    thgnxx

    Reply
  21. Currently on Coquahalla. No maintenance whatsoever on section just north of Merritt.
    Lots of accidents and cars in the ditch. VSA Maintenance overwhelmed obviously.
    Suggest someone look into this company.

    Reply
  22. Hello! Me and my fiancé are planning to drive from Calgary to Vancouver this December 18. Do you think it’s a good idea? What road should we take and what preparations should we make?

    Reply
    • Hi Mary,

      Sounds like a fine idea. A couple of tips before you head out the door.

      1. Plan your route. Our traveller information system – DriveBC has a “Plan your Route” feature which allows you to enter your start and end point and alert you to any road condition information you need to know before you go. Also, be sure to watch our BC HighwayCams along your route to get a good idea of current conditions. The quickest route between Calgary and Vancouver is along the Trans Canada Highway and BC Highway 5. Here is a blog we put together about travelling high mountain passes like the Coquihalla: http://tranbc.ca/2014/10/15/7-things-you-need-to-know-before-driving-the-coquihalla-and-high-mountain-passes/#sthash.iY5Y76WP.dpbs

      2. Make sure you have proper winter tires, a full tank of gas and an emergency kit (including a bit of food and warm clothes). We do everything we can to make sure BC highways move safely and smoothly but you should always travel prepared for delays, just in case.

      3. Don’t rush. Speed limits in BC are set for ideal driving conditions and winter driving conditions are not ideal.
      4. Enjoy your trip! You will be travelling through a winter wonderland – have fun.

      Hope that this helps. Let us know if you have any other questions. You can also follow us on Twitter @TranBC and @DriveBC or on Facebook. Happy trails!

      Reply
  23. Hey folks my driving to Vancouver from prince george on 28/2016 and coming back on 31 jan /2016. i have ford edge suv with all season tire. any recommendations please ???

    Reply
  24. Hi,
    Im driving a 1 ton cargo van with all season tires from Vancouver to Toronto on December 1st. I will also be towing my Honda Civic with a u-haul tow dolly. I will also buy chains. Is this possible? Do i have to be worried about anything else?

    Reply
    • Hello Hamid,

      The good folks at the CVSE responded directly to you but we wanted to share the response in case anyone else reading this has the same question.

      Thank you for your inquiry regarding your Vancouver to Toronto journey. It sounds as if you have everything covered by all season tires and chains. I would like to direct you to our website http://www.drivebc.ca and click on winter tires and chains. There is a lot of information that will address your concerns and you can even check the conditions of the highway you will be travelling.

      Reply
  25. What are the driving directions to Vancouver from Kelowna without taking the Coquihalla? I’m curious to know if there is an alternative route to taking the mountain pass to avoid snow in high elevations. Thank you.

    Reply
  26. Traveling up Coquihalla and the Yellowhead South from Surrey to Clearwater in late November for a hockey tournament. Rookie Coq driver; all my driving has been in the Fraser Valley – all 27 years of it. Will be using a 2004 Chevy Impala. Are we allowed to drive at a pace that is comfortable – probably will not exceed 80km/hr. Are passenger vehicles allowed to use truck lanes if traveling slower than posted and use middle lane to overtake leaving left lane to the more “experienced” Coquihalla veterans and “insane speed-demons”?

    Reply
    • Hi Haruo,

      First off – don’t panic. 🙂 If you give yourself extra travel time, travel at a speed that is comfortable to you and remember to check DriveBC before you go, your trip over the Coquihalla will be great.

      Because the Coquihalla is a high mountain pass, make sure you have the appropriate tires on your car, a full tank of gas and perhaps some snacks just in case. Here’s a blog we put together last year for folks heading out of the Lower Mainland up Coquihalla. http://tranbc.ca/2014/10/15/7-things-you-need-to-know-before-driving-the-coquihalla-and-high-mountain-passes/#sthash.SnO1dKR6.dpbs

      Passenger vehicles are free to travel in the right hand lane, in fact, if you plan on travelling a bit more slowly, we encourage it – in order to allow faster moving vehicles to pass you on the left. Thanks for connecting with us here. If you have any other questions, just let us know.

      http://www.drivebc.ca/

      Reply
  27. Hi, I will be travelling on the Coq mid October. Are conditions still okay for all season tires or should I put on winters? Going to Vancouver from jasper Alberta. Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Jordan,
      Check DriveBC and our Highwaycams closer to your travel time to get the most up to date travel condition information. As for tires, we recommend the 3 Peak or Snowflake winter tire when traveling winter conditions, which is more likely in high mountain passes.

      Reply
  28. I have to travel to Vancouver Island from Kelowna in the first week of October. I am very concerned about the information I read about winter tires not being safe in warm weather conditions. As it stands, the weather is going to be quite warm both through the pass and in Kelowna and the Island. So, though I may be a bit better off while crossing the Coquihalla for a few hours, I am considerably more at risk in the warmer weather conditions of the lower mainland. If you have to weigh overall safety, is it fair to force drivers to have winters on for the pass and then have to drive on them in still warm weather conditions in the buckle between fall and winter?

    Reply
    • Hi Beej,
      Thanks for connecting with us. Winter tires maintain good traction in winter conditions because they are composed of a rubber compound that stays soft in cold temperatures. Prolonged use of winter tires in warm weather (at warm summer temperatures) can cause the softer rubber of winter tires to wear down more quickly but there is no danger in driving your winter tires to Vancouver Island during the first week of October. The weather in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island is not considerably different at this time of year. Hope that this helps ease your concerns. Please let us know if you have any other questions and we would be glad to help.

      Reply
  29. We are thinking of traveling from prince george to kelowna in early november.. What are typical coq conditions during this time. I will be 28 weeks pregnant so im extremely anxious about road conditions.. Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • Hi Amanda,

      Typically the Coquihalla sees less snow in November than it does in December or January (avg. 157 cms for Nov. vs. avg. 200+ for Dec./Jan.) Winter tires are required on BC Highway 5 from October 1 – March 31. Tires are labelled with the mountain / snowflake or M+S (Mud and Snow) symbols legally acceptable on provincial highways that require winter tires or chains on board. Winter tires, to qualify as legal, must have a tread at least 3.5 mm deep. You can find more information about winter driving in BC at this website: http://shiftintowinter.ca/
      Please also check our traveller information website DriveBC for up to the minute road condition information and webcam visuals on Highway 5, so that you can know what conditions lie ahead on your journey. Our best advice is to give yourself lots of time, so you are not in a rush and to check DriveBC. Hope that this helps – safe travels!

      Reply
  30. Is there a website where there is a record of weather by day on the Coquahalla Hwy? I am interested in knowing the date of the last snowfall for May 2015.

    Reply
    • Hi Leonard,
      Where abouts on Highway 97C are you refering? We have a couple of maintenance contractors that do work along that corridor, depending on the area. As weather warms in parts of the province, contractors are out there now doing spring maintenance.

      Reply
  31. I’m planning on going from kelowna to vancouver just before the May long weekend. I drive a small standard car and I just took my winter tires off since Kelowna hasn’t had any snow since January. Do you think I should put them back on just for the time I’ll be going? Or will the driving conditions be okay for me to drive without them?

    Reply
    • Hi Sally,

      Mountain passes and higher elevations could still receive snow in May but it is not too likely. If you replace your winter tires with all season tires or tires marked with M+S logo (with a minimum tread depth of 3.5 mm) you should be able to travel safely on the route. Remember to check DriveBC for the forecast along your route in order to be prepared should a late season storm arrive. Give yourself lots of time to travel so you won’t be in a rush, make sure you have a full tank of gas, your phone and water should you be delayed for any reason. Here is a blog we put together for your reference: http://tranbc.ca/2014/10/15/7-things-you-need-to-know-before-driving-the-coquihalla-and-high-mountain-passes/

      Reply
  32. Hi, we are driving from Vancouver to Merritt on Tuesday the 14th of April and driving back the next day. Will we be ok without snow tires? thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi there Sandy,

      The Coquihalla and other BC mountain passes received snow just yesterday so we do recommend keeping your winter tires on for the trip. Remember to check DriveBC as well so you can know what the road conditions look like before you go. http://www.drivebc.ca/

      Reply
  33. Hi there,
    Do the drive from Vancouver to Edmonton every year. Typically it is between end of june-early september that we always do this drive but never in April. I see that ‘winter season on the coqu” is until april 30th, which makes me really nervous because I am not exactly too sure what to expect. I will be checking the weather conditions on the sites reccomended here before we go. We have a brand new cross over SUV and guess I am just wondering.. Is it really that unsafe to travel? Or is it just harder and may require slower, safer driving than usual? Do many people do this drive in April or are we being nuts? If its absolutely not reccomended to travel im April then we won’t go. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Suzanne,

      In April and even in May winter weather can still rear its head at higher elevations across the province and that includes the Coquihalla, but please don’t let that stop you from travelling. Our maintenance contractors and ministry staff work around the clock to keep BC highway 5 and all provincial highways safe for travel. Checking DriveBC before you go and as you travel, will keep you informed of changing conditions. Our advice to you is to make sure your vehicle has a minimum 3.5 mm tread on M + S tires, remember to slow down, take your time and enjoy the drive. Thanks for connecting with us here!

      Reply
  34. Hello,
    I am hoping to travel from Kelowna to Chilliwack in early April. I drive a Ford Ranger that is horrible in snow though; should I be worried about bad weather conditions in early April and try to play a different type of transportation? I tried to read the Historical “Weather Station Data” on the Ministry of BC website, but I didn’t understand it.
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hello Georgia,

      Thanks for connecting with us here. Even though our “official” winter tire season is between Oct 1 and March 31, mother nature tends to run by her own rules, especially on high mountain passes which you will undoubtedly be using to get to the Lower Mainland. If you have to take your Ranger, we encourage you to keep make sure it has M+S tires with a minimum tread depth of 3.5 mm and “Plan your Route” on DriveBC and check weather forecasts on your route before you leave and along your route if you take breaks.

      Reply
  35. We are thinking of travelling from Kelowna to Vancouver early February. What are the ‘average’ February conditions we need to consider before we finalize our plans. Is there a recommended ‘safer’ time in the day to be driving on the coquihalla?

    Reply
  36. Me and my husband will be coming home for the holidays from Edmonton to Vancouver. We will be bringing our 2014 Subaru Impreza AWD. What’s the road like during December? Is it safe to travel passing Coquihalla?

    Reply
  37. Hi there,

    My family is considering travelling to Kelowna from Vancouver on December 21st, and back to Vancouver on Christmas day. I can’t seem to find any sort of record for past weather conditions on the Coquihalla around that time. From everything I’ve heard however – it might be unrealistic to safely do that trip at that time of year considering the icy conditions on that road. Any help?

    Travis

    Reply
  38. Hello,
    I will be renting a Uhaul in March from Vancouver to Edmonton.
    What are the roads like on average in early March, and which routes would you suggest I take?
    Sincerest thanks!

    Reply
    • Hello Amanda,

      Road conditions in March can be varied. You should expect snow, slush and ice and ensure you have good winter tires on your vehicle (and be prepared to wait in your vehicle should delays occur). You have a couple of routes to choose from, Highway 1 or Highway 5 from Hope, then heading north east on Highway 16 after that. Typically Highway 1 (Fraser Canyon) sees less snow during the winter months, but BC Highway 5 is also maintained to a high standard. Regardless of which route you choose, remember to check DriveBC before you go, so that you are aware of any driving conditions in advance. Give yourself time and drive carefully. Happy travels!
      DriveBC has a Plan Your Route option which you might find useful (http://www.drivebc.ca/directions.html).

      Reply
  39. I am driving from Vancouver to Edmonton for Christmas, but I only have all-season tires. Is it ok if I just buy some chains? The cost to put winter or “all-weather” tires on is 800 and I will only only need them for a couple weeks! I cant afford that! Flying is not an option because airlines will not allow animals over christmas, and I cant leave my large dog.

    Reply
    • Hi Janelle,
      If your all season tires have the M+S logo and a minimum tread depth of 3.5 mm, they are legal for use on BC highways. We understand that winter tires are not always an affordable option but recommend mountain and snowflake logo tires as the best option. Having chains in your vehicle and knowing how to install them is a good choice also, and a more affordable back up plan. Please remember to check DriveBC before you leave so that you are aware of current road conditions and events. The website also has a very handy Plan Your Route tool: http://www.drivebc.ca/directions.html . Hope that this helps!

      Reply
  40. My husband and I are planning on driving from Edmonton to Victoria this coming February in a 2004 Mazda 3 hatchback (2-wheel drive) with winter tires. What would be the safest route(s) to take? We are worried about the driving conditions on the Coquihalla. Would it be safer to wait until March… or worse because the conditions could be icier due to melting/freezing?

    Thanks for your help!

    Reply
  41. This winter, I will be commuting between Merritt and Kamloops via the Coquihalla in a small car. Because of this, I plan on buying myself a new set of winter tires: does this section of the Coq see more compact snow, ice, or slush? I want to buy the most appropriate tires for that section of road.

    Reply
    • Hello again Darien,
      During the shoulder months (now and spring) you can expect icy sections and compact snow in winter. However, that is a general statement as all three types of conditions do occur. Hope that this helps!

      Reply
  42. November and on: Is it safe to slow to 90 km or lower staying on the right lane with hazard lights on going down the 6 % grade area of the Coquihalla? That is when driving south to Vancouver from Merritt.

    Reply
    • Hi James,

      Thanks for connecting with us here. There are a number of 6% grades on the Coquihalla but the one I think you are referring to is the Snowshed Hill which is 8% grade and up to 6% crossfall. These areas (Coquihalla only) all have ‘truck lanes’. That’s the third lane on the freeway, both downhill and uphill. Trucks routinely travel well below speed limit in those areas and are encouraged to use their hazard lights when doing so. 40kph traffic in right lane being passed by 80kph traffic in middle lane both with lights flashing is not uncommon. The issue is when we have light traffic travelling 120kph in the ‘truck lane’ and they come upon a situation described above which we call closing speed accidents. This condition is year round but magnifies itself during poor road conditions. We hope that this helps.

      Reply
  43. Hi there, I am planning on driving from Vancouver to Kelowna on Sunday November 2 and returning on Tuesday November 3…what are the roads like these days?

    Reply
  44. Having trouble finding Past Winter Road conditions for travelling between
    September 23rd to October 124h between Langley BC to Edmonton Alberta to Regina Saskatchewan, Calgary Alberta and back to Langley, B.C. Looking for the earliest time snow begins to fall in each of these areas and how bad can the conditions get within these three week period?.?

    Reply
    • Hello Odette,

      Typically the month of September is very nice for travelling in BC, with October 1st to April 30st being the dates we call winter driving season on mountain passes and across the province. That being said, old man winter can strike early if he is in the mood, so please always remember to check DriveBC before you go. http://www.drivebc.ca/#welcome

      Reply
  45. Driving to S.Surrey Aug.-Sept. pulling a 17ft. Boler with a 2013 Edge 3.6. Would the high altitude of Coquihalla be a problem. If sao what would be the better route?

    Reply
    • Hi Wally,

      The high altitude shouldn’t be a problem at all. Late August to early September are often the nicest times to travel BC Highways. Winter driving on our mountain passes does not formally begin until October 1st. Here is a link to our traveller information system DriveBC – http://www.drivebc.ca/. This website even has a Plan Your Route option, which will help you know before you go.

      Reply
  46. I am looking into driving from Vancouver to Calgary in early November (return) in a sedan style car. What should I look out for in planning this trip?

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  47. Would like to plan a trip down the coquihalla in late August/early September. Was wondering if one could still ride a motorcycle then?

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    • Hi Karen,

      Late August and into early September would be a beautiful time to ride the Coquihalla. Snow typically does not affect the pass until end of September early October. Have fun!

      Reply
  48. I was wondering when is it required to have snow tires on for trips from Vancouver to the Okanogan /kelowna region via the coquihalla highway ? When does it start snowing ?

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  49. I’m planning on driving from Vancouver to Kelowna this Friday, April 25th. I hear there has been some snow … I have snow tires on my car. Will this be enough? Are the conditions bad?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions / info.

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  50. When does it start to snow/get icy and slushy on the coquahalla? I want to drive from edmonton to vancouver on the first week of October this year and I don’t know if I can use my all season tires or if I should use my dedicated winter tires.

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  51. I am trying to find the total yearly cost of maintenance and snow removal of the coquihalla hwy.
    must be a closely guarded secret as with most govt prgrahms using tax payers money.

    Reply
    • Hi again Russell,
      Unfortunately we couldn’t find the cost of maintenance for the Coquihalla specifically broken out for you. This is because snow removal is just one part of the overall maintenance duties which our maintenance contractors are required to perform. For this and other “routine” work they are paid and annual lump sum for which they receive twelve equal payments over the year. The annual provincial average for maintenance is $4,200 per lane kilometre. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  52. I am planning a trip from Victoria to Manitoba and I will be traveling in mid April. I have a sm car and I would like to know what kind of weather I can expect on the Coquihalla ( I have not driven that road yet and really want to experience it)
    Thank you for your time.

    Reply
  53. I am driving to Vancouver from Kelowna B.C at the end of January… which route do you think is the safest for me and my small car? I am driving there alone…

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    • Hi Nicole,

      You have a couple of highway travel options between Kelowna and Vancouver:
      1. Highway 97/97C from Kelowna to Merritt and then Highway 5 from there to Vancouver.
      2. Highway 97 South to Highway 3 and then Highway 3 East to Vancouver.
      Our maintenance contractors work very hard to keep roads safe and clear all year long, but because weather conditions can change suddenly during January – we strongly encourage you to check DriveBC before you go to get a good idea of which route is your best option (least amount of snow, inclement weather, etc.). Hope that this helps! Happy and safe travels.

      Reply
    • Hi Terry,

      You should definitely expect winter conditions on the Coquihalla in March. In fact, drivers are required to use winter tires or carry chains and be prepared to use them on mountain passes (like the Coquihalla) until April 30th. Safe travels!

      Reply