Watch How We Get Through Winter on the Coquihalla

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UPDATE: Yellowhead Road & Bridge took over a new maintenance contract for SA 14/Coquihalla in July 2019 (replacing VSA). However, the Coquihalla Snowshed Protocol still applies.

The Coquihalla (BC Highway 5 from Hope to Merritt) is the province’s busiest mountain pass. At more than 1,200 metres in elevation, it’s also one of the routes hit hardest by heavy snowfall and other winter conditions.

Fear not… we have a plan, and a team of professionals to execute what we call: The Coquihalla Snowshed Protocol. When the snow flies, the team carries out a series of steps to make sure you safely make it up and over the summit.

Catch all the action in this video.

And remember… you can play a part in the Coquihalla Snowshed Protocol, too.

  • Commercial truck drivers: make sure you have chains, know how to put them on, and chain up if the sign is on.
    Head’s up! Chain up regulations have recently changed on high mountain passes, and we’ve implemented a
    No Trucks in the Left Lane policy.
  • Cars: make sure you have proper winter tires.
  • Know Before You Go – Check DriveBC. If you have to go and heavy snow is in the forecast, be aware that there are other routes available: BC Highway 1 and Highway 3 may have less snow. Don’t know? Don’t go.
  • If you do travel over the Coquihalla during the winter – SLOW DOWN and allow extra travel time.
  • Obey variable speed limit signs, which change depending on weather and road conditions. They are the law.
  • Remember: Standard speed limit signs are set for ideal driving conditions, and winter driving conditions are NOT ideal.

Having watched the video, have you experienced the Coquihalla Snowshed Protocol in action?

Page 1 of 16 comments on “Watch How We Get Through Winter on the Coquihalla”

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  1. The maintenance of our highways is a joke!!! All day my spouse has been stranded in Hope trying to get home to Kamloops!!😕 highway#1 has been closed all afternoon with NO sign of opening anytime soon…And #5 has been closed most of the day and night as well??😯if the only highways were properly maintained they wouldn’t both be closed leaving 100’s cold and stranded!!Hire more maintenance staff!!!!

    • Hi Susan,

      Thank you for connecting with us here to share your concern. Last Wednesday, the Coquihalla highway received upwards of 70-80cm of snowfall, and VSA (our maintenance contractor for BC Highway 5) was fully deployed and managed to keep the roads in good winter driving conditions. Unfortunately, the storm was immediately followed by freezing rain on compact snow and rapidly dropping temperatures causing very icy road conditions and spun out trucks and vehicles. Spun out trucks prevented VSA’s crews from being able to access, cycle and maintain the highway and the decision was made to close the highway until it could be brought back up to a safe travelling standard. Highway 1 was closed temporarily to conduct controlled avalanche work along the corridor. We do not take highway closures lightly, but the safety of the travelling public is our number one concern. Here’s a link to an article by the CBC discussing the recent closures which you might find interesting:

      Hope that this helps.

  2. Thanks for posting this video – very well done and informative. Hats off to everyone on the team. BC couldn’t move in winter without you.