Travel Back in Time to the Interior of BC as it was in 1966

Highway 12 Lytton Lillooet

Are you ready? It’s time to hop on board our BC Road Trip Time Machine and travel back to 1966. This time we are driving Highway 8 from Merritt to Spences Bridge, Highway 12 from Lytton to Lillooet and Highway 99 from Lillooet to Highway 97. As many of you already know, we’ve been digitizing 16mm photolog footage from 1966 to give you our BC Road Trip Time Machine video series.

WATCH Merritt to Spences Bridge:

WATCH Lytton to Lillooet:

WATCH: Lillooet to BC Highway 97

This is an area of the province rich in history. The Lillooet area is considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited locations on the continent, reckoned by archaeologists to have been inhabited years by the Xaxli’p, Ts’kw’aylaxw, (St’at’imc and Secwepemc) first peoples of the area for more than ten thousand years. Although these roads are off the beaten path and remain low volume routes, we’ve made a number of safety improvements to keep travellers safe.

Improvements on Highway 8 include:

  • replacement of the single lane truss bridges with concrete 2-lane structures
  • shoulder widening in Spences Bridge to accommodate pedestrians
  • installation of roadside barriers for safety

Highlights of recent improvements to Highway 12 include:

  • installation of roadside barriers for safety
  • extensive rock work including scaling and meshing
  • new bridges in the area in 2006
  • 92 km of paving underway for the 2018 season

Highlights of recent improvements to Highway 99 between Lillooet and Highway 97 include:

The Atmospheric River event of November 2021 devastated many stretches of BC Highway 8 and the ministry continues to work to reconnecting this corridor and preventing future loss. Through the B.C. Highway Reinstatement Program, we’re undertaking the long-term reinstatement of critical transportation infrastructure damaged by extreme weather events of November 2021. We will be engaging with communities, local governments, Indigenous communities, and stakeholders to discuss the potential long-term transportation solutions at each project site. Learn more about what the road to recovery looks like for these stretches of highway.

BONUS! Check out some of our favourite still images from this film and from other photologs.

Highway 8 Merritt Spences Bridge

What are Photologs?

“Photologs” were created to capture road condition information across the province and give our engineers the ability to study a particular stretch of road without having to travel into the field. The original photologs were collected by rigging a camera onto the dash of a car that took still images every 80 feet or so and then running them all together as a single film. Pretty cool stuff, huh? Looking back on these old reels reveals a lot more than just pavement condition. The camera captured some incredible glimpses of our province during the 60’s.

Are you patiently waiting to see footage of a particular BC highway that we haven’t shared yet? Let us know in the comments below.

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Page 1 of 29 comments on “Travel Back in Time to the Interior of BC as it was in 1966”

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  1. I remember years ago, a road around Merritt where the road was so twisty and crossed a railway track many times. I thought it was between Merritt and Spences bridge. I Just traveled that road and found no evidence of a train track or a very twisty toad. Do you know of any such Road?

    • Hi Sylvia,

      I gathered some info from local staff. Highway 8, which connects Spences Bridge to Merritt, is a twisty road that used to have some crossings of the old KVR line. The old railbed is still there but obscured by vegetation in many areas. The tracks and ties, along with many of the bridge structures and any crossings, have also been removed.

      Farther south from Merritt, the old Coquihalla trail between Hope and Merritt used to cross the KVR line in many locations; however, it was essentially erased when Highway 5 was constructed in 1984 through 1986.

      Hope this helps!

  2. Thanks for the video logs, they really illustrate how far road design and engineering have advanced the drive for the current level of users! Keep up the great work!

    • Hello Richard,

      I am sorry – we can’t easily access information on when this stretch was originally paved but we can confirm that Highway 12, opened in 1953, originally went all the way to a junction with Highway 97 at Lower Hat Creek, but when the Duffey Lake Road was paved in 1992, the section of Highway 12 from Lillooet to Highway 97 was renumbered 99. We hope that this is helpful.

    • Hi David,

      I checked with one of our long-time traffic engineers about the maximum speed limit on Highway 1.

      They said, “I’m not sure what the speed limit was when it actually opened in 1964, however I do know it was posted at 70 mph for quite some time and was changed to 60 mph/100 km/h in the mid 1970s (as a fuel conservation policy) due to the Arab oil embargo that hit North America during that time period.

  3. Wonderful footage. I grew up in the Pemberton Valley late 50’s and remember the first road into the valley from Squamish. Would love to see some early shots of that, if possible. Thanks

  4. Would really like to see a segment with crossing the old Alexandria Bridge. I’ve visited it, and want to know what the road beyond the West end of the bridge looked like.

    • Hi Vince,

      Unfortunately our footage only goes back to 1966, which means that the old bridge would not have been captured. You might be able to search for some images of the old road alignment online and if we find anything, we will share online. Thanks for your comment!

  5. I watched this and shared it a little while back, I would love to see one on the Creston cutoff between Salmo and Creston if there is one. I remember it as a boy, also Salmo through Crawford Bay to Creston!

  6. This photolog from Lytton to Lillooet is amazing even the one from Merritt to Spences Bridge, thanks for the view and the much needed upgrade for Hwy 12, so thankful for keeping travellers safe.

  7. This is amazing. I also like looking at the age and amount of cars on the roads in those days. Being 65 those Dept of Highways orange color trucks seem like just yesterday they were around. Hope you can get some footage of the road from Trail to Rossland and Christina Lake to Grand Forks. Thanks for putting this photolog video online.