Why We’re Keeping Commercial Trucks Out of Some Left Lanes on the Coquihalla

No trucks sign Coquihalla

We’re restricting commercial vehicles from using the far left lane northbound on the Coquihalla’s Snowshed Hill between Box Canyon and Zopkios with our No Trucks in the Left Lane pilot program. The restriction is in effect year-round.

November 23. 2020 Update: We’ve added the left lane travel restriction for commercial vehicles to the uphill sections of Larson Hill and Inks Lake Hill , to this pilot program. Regulatory signage, the same as at Snowshed Hill, has been installed to mark the beginning and end of the areas. Snowshed, Larson and Inks Lake hills all have three lanes going in one direction.

The Coquihalla Highway is one of the province’s busiest mountain passes. Both passenger and commercial vehicles rely on it as a primary connection between the Lower Mainland and the Interior. It also experiences extreme snowfall rates, with accumulation sometimes exceeding 10 cm per hour. That’s a LOT of white stuff coming down. Even with regular plowing and sanding; snow and slush accumulates on the road surface quickly, reducing traction and visibility. Add a spun out commercial vehicle (or more) to the mix and things can get messy really quickly.

Commercial vehicles blocking traffic during snow storm on Snowshed Hill

On Phase 1, between Hope and Merritt, the snow is heavy and wet, creating tricky road conditions for trucks, even with minor accumulations on the road surface. Over the past couple of winter seasons, commercial vehicles on the Coquihalla have been spinning out in climbing sections more frequently during storms. In fact, last winter, 33 of 35 extended closures on the Coquihalla during last winter involved commercial vehicles. At times, this meant commercial vehicles were blocking the highway until they could either be towed away, or equipped with chains (which they should have already had on their vehicles). What makes these closures even worse is that, because the Coquihalla is a divided highway, snow plows often get caught in the traffic queue behind the blockage, restricted by roadside barriers and unable to turn around. So, snow continues to fall, unplowed, until the blockage is cleared. Not good.

Commercial vehicle gets traction help from tow truck on Coquihalla

We hope to prevent a repeat of that trend by restricting commercial vehicles from using the far left lane.  We chose to pilot this restriction first on Snowshed Hill, because our Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement focuses a large part of their enforcement efforts on this location during the winter months and this is where trucks spin out the most. By restricting trucks from the left most lane, we will be better able to maintain traffic flow (including emergency vehicles) and plowing operations, as well as significantly reduce the time it takes to re-establish the flow of traffic after a vehicle incident/closure. “Keep right, let others pass” rules are still in effect – we are taking this action to ensure no trucks use the left most lane.

Maintenance contractors clear highway ahead of commercial traffic


We’ve also recently constructed and opened the Box Canyon Chain-up area (located on the Coquihalla, before Snowshed Hill). We’re expecting commercial vehicles to use this facility when snow falls on the Coquihalla, in advance of heading over the summit. The facility can hold up to 70 commercial vehicles at a time and can also accommodate oversized loads as well.

If we have the Coquihalla Snowshed Protocol activated, and the two lanes get blocked by spun-out trucks, we will hold trucks at the Box Canyon Chain-up area until these lanes are clear. If trucks come upon spun out trucks in the right and centre lanes, they need to stop, just like they would have to if all three lanes were blocked.

The safety and mobility of the travelling public are our top priorities. We hope that this change will help both of these over the coming winter on the Coquihalla. If you have any questions about this, or any other work we do at the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, let us know in the comments below. Safe travels everyone!

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Page 1 of 128 comments on “Why We’re Keeping Commercial Trucks Out of Some Left Lanes on the Coquihalla”

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  1. These articles about winter driving , tires etc are excellent. Good advice coupled with humor get the message across very well. Especially liked when the snow hits the fan bit. Great job. Thanks.

  2. Only one little problem with this folks,
    The far left lane is the highest point on the Smasher tunnel. Some of us Heavy Haulers will get into the left lane as soon as we clear the Merge lane coming out of the chain up area with our escorts and get set up for the tunnel. Once we clear the snow shed moving all the way over to the right sometimes presents a wee bit of a challenge,between impatient drivers and slower traffic and the CVSE trying to do their jobs..

    Just a thought to pass along.. Sometimes there is a reason for us to be in the left lane.. All the flashing Amber lights mean something a whole lot bigger and heavier than you is in the vicinity. Abd when you flip me the bird,I get a laugh and 5 pts on my heavyhaulers score sheet. Kinda like BINGO but more fun..

  3. Why all year round restriction for trucks on the coq. Trucks don’t spin out I may June July august and September. Maybe you should take the advice, Let Others Pass.

    • Hello Merrill – thanks for your question. Weather can change quickly on high mountain passes at any time of the year – not just in the winter. This regulation helps ensure the flow of traffic on this vital corridor throughout the year.

  4. I am a truck driver so I want to share my mountains driving experience. 99% truck ing companies don’t have safe mountain driving training program.how to chains up and chains down they don’t care. It’s very hard for new truck drivers. I saw that 75% truck drivers Don’t know how to do chains up properly because no body tell him. Mostly untrained truck and car drivers create a big problem. Bad weather is not invisible. It’s not possible to clean roads in heavy snowfall. So everybody have to stop and wait

    • Here’s the bottom line:if you don’t know how to chain up (or can’t be bothered to do so) you have no business running the mountains in the winter with a commercial truck,period.
      Nobody likes having to chain up…it’s a wet,cold & dirty task…but it’s a fact of life in the winter.
      If you can’t find anyone to teach you,there are any number of instructional videos on YouTube you can watch and figure it out.

  5. Set the stage
    Truck a 140000lbs in the right lane
    Truck b 102000lbs in the centre lane
    Truck c 50000lbs not haveing an issue pulling snowshed hill
    Light flurries and just a little snow on the road.
    Truck c is comming up on a and b who appear to be side by side doing oh say 50 and 55 respectfully.
    Truck c is going say 80
    I know darn well that in a semi momentom is a must and once thats lost is when all hell breaks lose.
    In thereory on paper looks great
    But practicality sucks
    If i need that far left lane to maintain my momentom im going to use it

    • Hello there Anonymous – thanks for taking the time to comment. We sure do appreciate the work being done by truck drivers to get their cargo to and from all points in our province. We also understand that commercial vehicles carrying incredibly heavy loads need to keep that momentum going to get up and over mountain passes. That’s why we ask that instead of a truck in each lane (as depicted above) commercial traffic restrict themselves to the right hand lane (and middle lane for passing). This prevents all three lanes from becoming blocked. Two commercial trucks, travelling roughly the same speed should not be occupying two lanes. Instead, they should both be travelling in the right lane only, freeing up other lanes for lighter vehicles to pass. Make sense?

    • There’s cars behind you, and they might have momentum too, do you care if one of them has to break hard because of you selfishness and breaks traction causing an accident? You don’t, because you’re paid per mile. Direct your efforts on changing the pay schedule rather than being an inconsiderate prick endangering people around you.

  6. Problem is, trucks still spin out even with chains on, how about doing a better job to ensure that doesn’t happen? Do like they do in the States when it gets bad, they shut the highway down, truckers put on chains then they send up 4-5 plows and sanders all at once cleaning the road then reopen it. Or in some States they just plain shut the highway down until the storm passes. Here is another thought, dont wait until after trucks spin out to put the chain up light on and to start plowing. Hauling a super B I have to chain up even though the chain up lights not on while normal truck and trailers make it up barefoot. Yes it makes sense to keep trucks out of the left lane, just do a better job

    • Thanks for your suggestions, Lorne. We will share your feedback with our staff in the area for their review. Our staff do occasionally close down highways during extreme events but we typically won’t close high mountain passes like they do in the US.

  7. Maybe the ministry of Highways should stop trying to find ways to cut costs on highway road maintenance… they cut the cost so low that road maintenance companies can’t maintain the roads properly. This section of roads is not just from Merritt to the coast but also Merritt to , Kamloops, Kelowna and Spences Bridge. They are expected to keep all these passes open during extreme weather conditions. I’m not saying the road maintenance companies are any better as they under cut other companies to get the contract. The road maintenance shouldn’t have been privatized . I can not believe that money is more important then the lives that have been taken on the road because of shitty conditions. Good job government of Bc!!👍👍

  8. Take all our high taxes n build wider roads and buy and hire more equipment and operators and do you jobs properly so use truckers can do our jobs with out having to stop because inexperienced operators or operators who don’t follow regulations spin out. Us drivers who have chains and have experience shouldn’t have to sit around waiting for roads to clear in those conditions. This is 2020 not the 1900s the technology is there.

    • Hi Brodie – thanks for your comment and for connecting with us here. We do appreciate your frustration, unfortunately, the solution isn’t so simple. We operate with a budget (one of many budgets required to operate different aspects of our provincial lives). We monitor and audit our contractors to make sure that they are doing the job right. We also require the assistance of drivers on the highways to slow down and drive to conditions (chain up when necessary) in order to help keep traffic moving safely and smoothly.

  9. This is great news and a great pilot project. It should be implemented on all major highways and include not only three-lane but two-lane highways in both directions and passing lanes. It should include RVs and fifth wheelers, tankers, etc.

    In my travels it’s unbelievable how many semi’s, RVs, trailers, etc., (pretty much all) that pull into the left lane (passing or otherwise) to overcome the same vehicle type, which rarely ever happens. This maneuver is an extreme traffic hazard, particularly in heavy volume traffic and especially in winter driving conditions. It results in no one passing anyone.

    Keep it “GROWING”!!

  10. This is one of my pet peeves. Restricting every truck from the left lane. Summer winter, all year. No bob tail , empty trucks, partially loaded trucks . Why not just limit trucks who might possibly loose traction in those particular dozen storms. Trucks will be getting citations for passing at the posted speed limit who would never in a million years hold up traffic in any way. I realize the frustration, but see it from the other view as well. The second worse citation in 5.5 million miles was a truck lane restriction citation. This is extremely unreasonable law and practice. It’s punishing our most experienced drivers for the acts or accidental maneuvers of a few . These drivers you are punishing with threat of citation have more experience than most everyone involved in making this decision. They are being forced to contribute to the congestion , rather than alleviating some congestion. This flys in the face of reason, and causes disrespect for law makers and law enforcement. We have seen and thought about these issues for Forty years and know it’s wrong please respect us as equals in every way . It is so hard to verbalize millions of miles and the negatives this law has on us. . P. it is so disrespectful to us and the services we provide thru out North America. B.C. May be the only place on earth to get this right and respect all drivers, because they have a history of understanding experienced drivers viewpoint. Thank you.

    • Somehow Europe manages to get by with regulation where trucks can’t pass each other unless there is an extra (third) line. But Canadian “experienced” drivers know better.

  11. Yah geesh it only took 30 yrs to figure this out.. whatever happened to keeping trucks at a 10kmh slower speed on highways too. Trucks should not be allowed to hog left lanes at all..the BC government made a law about left lane hogs and yet I see it all the time on Larson hill and north of that as well. If I do that the truckers will ride my bumper so close its downright dangerous..rules and laws are only as effective as enforcing them..seems like the authorities would rather clean up a accident than prevent one

  12. How about you spend our tax dollars and road tax money to provide proper roads to drive on.

    The problem is the government uses highways moneys as a slush fund for other projects.

    Very few tax dollars are put back into the highways system.

    We don’t need tolls on roads or bridges, we just need the money that is already collected to be put where it is intended to be used.

    Horgan is still trying to figure out why our fuel costs in BC are so high but I guess he hasn’t seen the pictures of himself and Trudeau that everybody else has seen.

    • Hi Brad – we’re sorry to hear your frustration but thank you for reaching out to us to share your concerns. We are sharing a link to our service plan for 2019/2020. In it, the details of our operating budget and where those funds are allotted to maintain or improve the transportation and infrastructure in the province. https://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2019/sp/pdf/ministry/tran.pdf

      If you have a concern about a particular stretch of BC Highway, or any other issue, just let us know and we’d be happy to get you more specific information.

  13. We never had these problems to the extent we do now back in the eighties when the Coquihalla was new and the Government was in charge of the highways maintenance and snow clearing management. In typical fashion this area was privatized which put financial profit above then needs and conditions of the highway especially during the winter months. Put the Tolls back on the Coquihalla so those that travel the road contribute the money needed to maintain it correctly and safely. The removal of the Toll took away hundreds of thousands of needed dollars that came from thousands out of province drivers. The toll was minimal for the benefits of the drive, for anyone not liking to pay a very affordable toll then don’t drive the Coquihalla, instead burn that extra amount in fuel and time and travel the highway #1 through the canyon.
    The removal of the toll was the beginning of the decline of the highway conditions, the Coquihalla should be a toll highway and needs to be so that there is the appropriate budget and emergency funding to keep the highway safe in its best condition and traffic moving.

  14. Trucks that spun out of control in last 2 year period should MUST have a sign on the truck behind AND in front just like the N sign for novice drivers. This will alert other drivers to keep a little more distance and assist in any way.
    This should be also a rule for regular drivers involved in more serious accidents of their own doing. An orange sign I think, or a red, but I prefer the orange.
    I remember in Europe an orange sign with an exclamation mark on it, and there were restrictions associated with the bearer of “the orange”, and enforced!

    IDENTIFYING AT ALL TIMES Problematic drivers should help all of us with safety and ultimately help the overall driving conditions.

    I find it ridiculous and stupid that this is not happening.

    • Hi Anonymous,

      Thanks for your suggestion about requiring commercial vehicles/drivers who have spun out of control to have their vehicle placarded with an orange sign, which would have restrictions associated with it.

      I will forward your comments to our Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement group for consideration.

      Safe journey!

  15. I want to thank you for making the new rule, it makes sense not to have big rigs having to go so fast in the left lane.I was wondering, if there could be more white high-lighter things closer together on the right side? And more white or red reflectors on the meridian? We dont drive the Coquihalla often but today around 4pm, more high-lighter reflectors would’ve been less sketchy to follow. Otherwise it was a quick safe drive.

      • I support the pilot program. I noted Kevin’s remark (Nov 18) about releasing trucks back onto a reopened highway and the associated risks of a huge concentration of same, ‘all at once’. While I agree with that (very legitimate) concern, I suggest upon reopening the highway that trucks ready to go be released a timed intervals so as to impose at least a starting distance between them. As for the remark about light or empty trucks being able to pass in the left lane, I respectfully disagree based, principally, on the relative lack of manoeuvrability of the larger rigs.

  16. Overall, this seems like a sensible policy, especially if there are three or more lanes in the same direction. On all the commenters asking for slower trucks, there’s some evidence that differing road speeds are a contributing factor to most freeway collisions. Travelling in some parts of California with heavy truck traffic,especially Interstate 5 between Los Angeles and Stockton the 55 mph trucks and the 70 mph cars on a two lane freeway make for a very stressful drive, with frustrations of being trapped at 55 mph meaning drivers often speed, making it even more stressful and dangerous for the rest of us.
    The adjustable speed limits are a good innovation, the speed zones need to be smaller to reflect immediate conditions and more adjustable signs need to be installed to reinforce any speed changes.
    The 97c connector could use adjustable speeds, especially in the frequently foggy section near Kelowna.
    And finally, maybe a part of the class 1 driver exam should include proper chain installation.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment Doug. Our traffic engineers have identified the same safety risks with mixed vehicle speeds. We appreciate your feedback and will share it forward on your behalf. Safe travels.

  17. This is a Pilot program correct? So that means a full study of the findings?
    Please include the FULL study in your report including the results of any accidents, or head on collisions from the Coquihalla clear to Calgary that could possibly occur after 100 trucks are finally released when the highway opens again. We all know how dangerous the highways become after they are reopened to let traffic flow. So now you’ll be creating your own “Avalanches” of traffic.
    Nobody condones the actions aggressive drivers take, but a backed up highway of trucks will only further encourage high risk behavior from others. (Mostly impatient cars). unfortunately, this is a reality. Safety doesn’t and shouldn’t ever mean more rules and regulations without understanding the full consequences. Safety is about education.
    A safe highway is a moving highway. I’m glad you understand that, but for every action there are consequences. You’ll be essentially backing up truck traffic now right? So when that truck traffic is finally released, it will create a dangerous situation for the next few hundred km until it starts to spread out again after a few cities and towns.
    Is this really the “Right” thing to do?
    Did you actually receive any consultation from trucking groups or drivers on this? To implement such a plan involves weighting all the positive and negative outcomes from this plan.
    Why not implement an obstruction law with a massive fine?
    I mentioned about the “Right” thing to do.
    If a light or empty truck is maintaining safe and reasonable speeds, they should be allowed to use that lane. What gives you the right to now “Obstruct” every truck because of a few that make bad calls?
    Practical wisdom dictates that If I’m traveling up that section at the speed limit or close to it, and 2 fully loaded b-trains are passing one another at 25 km/hr, I’m going to check my mirror and if I see nothing coming to obstruct, I will continue around safely. That is called doing the right thing, at the right time, and for the right reason.
    Quit trying to apply standardized laws to things that aren’t standard.
    quit trying to force the square block in the round hole.
    Ticket those that obstruct and leave the drivers that operate with practical wisdom alone.
    Let’s also consider all the idiots that will disobey this law. Then add one more danger as every car driver pulls out their cell phone to take pictures and video.
    Let’s just take something dangerous and add more dangers too it.
    Don’t you have any empathy to predict outcome?

      • While some of the published comments have substance in certain instances, in the overall scheme of things I believe it is the right path to take. I would also like to take this opportunity to mention that truck speeds over 100k should be 10k slower than passenger or light truck vehicles. I have personally been passed by a loaded B-train in my personal vehicle going down Loon Lake/Elkhart while I was doing 110k. This person is an accident looking for a place to happen.

  18. I believe this rule should be implemented throughout British Columbia with all truckers to be restricted to 5km/hr slower than regular traffic. We should look at the United States traffic laws implemented on their Hwys. I have been in the Commercial Transport business for 30years and have seen the deterioration of fellow truck drivers driving habits. In this industry it seems the professionalism has been thrown to wayside, with unruly behaviour and driving techniques. Implantation should be immediate and with a very stiff penalty for uncooperative drivers who can’t follow the rules. The CVSE is doing their part to the best of their ability but I believe their resources are limited. I have always taken pride in my profession and feel that others are sacrificing safety and disregarding rules of the road. I see a drastic changed needed as drivers are unable to follow the set rules

    • Thanks for your comment Werner – we appreciate hearing from you. This location has been selected as a pilot project and if it is successful, it will be considered for other locations across the province.

    • To Werner. Have you ever used the left lane to pass other vehicles in the other two lanes , if so than why would this be the wrong thing to do and make it illegal to do. Perhaps you are in the trucking industry , but not a driver. Your attitude is remarkable if you are a driver and blindly trust law makers and law enforcement to always be doing the right thing. This is not my attitude, but maybe it should be more so . We all make mistakes . I personally think this is a mistake that can be made better, just like B.C. came up with the keep right let others pass, which is the best I’ve seen to handle that problem, anywhere in the world. But thanks Werner for putting forth a good attitude, I’m sure the lawmakers snr traffic law enforcement appreciate you attitude.

      • You’d also have to remember that truckers are not the only road users, in fact, for every truck (vehicles over 4500kg) there’s over 20 cars (vehicles weighting less than 4500kg) on Canadian roads. What gives you the prerogative to bend the laws to favor a Truck over the majority of Cars?

        It’s a lot safer if the left line is left to cars, that’s facts, even when you start counting the “impatient” people that won’t obey the rules anyway.

  19. We are team truck drivers BC to Toronto several times a week and the BC roads are the worst kept. You never see a plow with its blades down.You see salt sometimes but that’s not the answer. Get the plows out. Perhaps this should be looked at more so than restricting us truckers from the left lane especially if 2 slower trucks in the right 2 lanes. There will be more problems, back ups and frustration guaranteed. People need to stop blaming truckers for all the problems and consider how frustrating it is when they limit our safe gap, stopping distance by cutting in front of us and braking! We cannot stop quickly, do you not realize that? Yes training new Truck drivers better needs to be addressed but how about giving the brand new drivers training on how to respect truckers on the road and be aware of how much room on the road we require to be safe for us and others.

    • And because your longer stopping distance and bad road conditions your solution is to allow truck drivers to drive fast and clog any line of the highway they feel like? Dully noted.

  20. Great solution. Fully support it.
    Please implement the same policy wherever there are 3 lanes. #BCHwy1 EB 232-264 #BCHwy1 both directions west of 200th #BCHwy1 Wb from my Lehman up the chill.

      • Oddly enough, when the third lane eastbound from 232 St. to 264 St. was built it was claimed to be a truck climbing lane and the signs said as much, as was the third right more lane from Mt. Leahman Road up to the Brander road area. Trucks should be made to stay in those lanes going up both those hills however as I live in the Fraser Valley, they seem to be able to use even the left lane and slow everyone else up.

        In some states south of us commercial vehicles over a certain weight aren’t allowed to even think about using the left lane. Why is it just a pilot project here and not a full on implementation? Just curious is all.

  21. This is good news but as previous post state it should be extended. The Heavy trucks should not be allowed in ALL left lanes. Hwy 1 , Lougheed Hwy, and all others. Too many times 2 tractors try to pass each other where 1 is trying to go 2 km/h faster in the left lane and just can’t make it. So drivers behind them get angry, frustrated and start making sudden moves to try to get around them. This is the law in many US states and most of Europe. And it works.
    Make ALL Highways in BC a NO TRUCK in LEFT LANE. Save Lives.

  22. Two things. First off, why is it not mandatory for commercial vehicles to be running winter tires on the drives? They make a HUGE difference in traction and would help solve some of the spun out issues. Second, if I’m heading up the smasher chained up and the right two lanes are blocked from spun out vehicles but the left lane is open, I’m supposed to stop? Now I’ll be essentially spun out too.

    • Hi Tim. Winter tires are not manufactured for most commercial vehicles. As far as using the left lane with chains installed – no, that is still not allowed. Trucks with chains can still spin out. The priority is to keep a lane open to allow traffic to continue to flow, including maintenance equipment.

      • Trucks with chains wouldn’t spin out If you actually did some snow clearing in the road when it’s snowing , if trucks are spinning out with chains , you’ve failed at your one and only job . To keep the road clear and open

        • Hello Annoyed – thanks for your comment. Our maintenance contractors work around the clock to keep the highway clear and open. The main thing that people should understand about the Coq (and the same applies to all the other mountain passes in BC to greater or lesser extents) is that, in certain circumstances, snowfall intensity and accumulation rates can be extreme – sometimes exceeding 10 cm per hour. A great example of this type of intense accumulation occurred during February of 2014 when ten storm systems delivered a total of 294 cm of new snow over a period of 15 days! The traffic and road conditions resulting from this type of weather may be unpredictable – even with our maintenance crews out there throwing everything they’re got at it. This restriction will help keep at least one lane open, so that our maintenance vehicles can continue to clear the highway. Hope that this helps.

          • Wait a minute, aren’t maintenance vehicles trucks? We are trucks too Nd sometimes do maintenance on lanes by blowing snow off lanes , or making tracks so other vehicles can use the lane, but with lane restriction , you will see that that left lane will loose service to all traffic until the snow removal trucks come and you allow them to violate the restriction and plow that lane

  23. Maybe we should look at this in a different approach!maybe the truck need’s to be designed in a better traction system,four wheel drive, trailer’s with a drive system on the back wheel’s!, I mean we can send a man to the moon, why can’t a truck be designed for winter driving? thought’s?

    • The sad part is that on packed snow and ice it doesn’t mater how many driving wheels you have, you just don’t have the traction to break inertia. The solution would be to ensure black ice and compact snow wouldn’t be able to form in the first place, but that would mean that the maintenance crews would have to be doubled or even tripled.

      We often speak of how human life is priceless, but then save money when we could save lives. There’s a problem with always high unemployment, trucks are rusting out in giant storage fields because they can’t be sold at a profit.
      It’s a matter of putting these trucks on the road, they’re already manufactured, resources and labor was spent, why not use them? Because someone holds the equipment at ransom? I thought we don’t negotiate with terrorists.

    • Hi Scott. No, other trucks must stop, ensuring the left lane remains open. Otherwise, these trucks could very well spin-out in the left lane, thus closing the highway.

  24. It needs to be clarified whether trucks that are chained up can use the fast lane should both slow lanes be blocked. These wait times for multiple blocked lanes can lead to several hours. A properly chained up truck will not spin out. Some drivers don’t know how to install tire chains correctly. If the ministry or CVSE or ICBC would set up a training program/video this would speed things up and let everyone go home safely. It would be an idea for hiway maintenance people/traffic control to have someone who can be paid per customer at the chain up area to help out someone who doesn’t know how to chain up. VSA does not maintain the crucial hills as well as Emil Anderson does on hiway 3 hope princeton. It is the hills that are the problem, not so much the flats. The “smasher” can be plowed much more efficiently. I know from professional experience hauling Super’Bs on both the coquhalla and hope princeton, both get the same wet snow. Only if we work together can we go home safely and not be ignorant of each others perspectives. We all pay with out taxes for proper road maintenance, we need more Snow plows on the short steep hills, snowplows that actually press down with their blades. We dont want to hear about someone dying every winter on “hiway thru hell”. Tow trucks and hearse drivers might be unhappy but everyone else will be much happier and feel much safer.

    • Hi Maurice. Commercial vehicles, with or without chains installed, cannot use the left lane northbound from Box Canyon to Zopkios. Chains do not completely erase the risk of spinning out, especially if driver inexperience or mechanical issues are involved.

      Thanks for your suggestion about training. ICBC is reviewing the current Class 1 commercial driver training program in BC, and will be looking at the recommendations from that review to see what improvements can be made.

  25. I agree with other commentators – we should look to expand to all multi lane highways particularly in the lower mainland and follow European countries in having commercial vehicles travel 10km/hr slower than other traffic and keep them in the far right lane except under exceptional circumstances to pass – which should be limited since they are travelling slower.

    I also agree that more rules won’t fix anything if not enforced – which is already a huge problem with the ‘stay right except to pass’

    • A large percentage of trucks not only do not need to slow down on hills but could actually exceed the speed limit up there hill cause they’re not pull omg a trailer, or are empty, or have a lite load and still they’re forced with threat of citation to contribute to the congestion , instead of alleviating congestion.the conditions and specific trucks these laws are targeting are few and far between . Why target us all? All year long, It wouldn’t be right to target all cars to stay in the right lane because some cars will now be driving in the middle lane which is now the truck only , if not at least their best passing lane

      • But you do target cars, every time you block the passing line, you’re blocking cars that otherwise would’ve passed you with ease, even the shittiest vehicle these days has no problem accelerating to 120-140 even uphill, while the trucks can’t.

        Also, aren’t the Canadian trucks supposed to be governed not to go above a certain speed?

  26. Driving in winter conditions is never easy. Could someone please come up with serious outside-the-box suggestions about how to prevent the snow from landing on the road in the first place. We did put a man on the moon… It must be possible to keep snow off the road.

  27. What a pile of crap! You guys sit back and act as though you have no control over the situation, in fact if you’d all stop passing the buck and take responsibility for giving commercial licenses to the inept, at that point we might regain a modicum of professionalism in th industry. I as most of the high quality professionals I know sick and tired of being treated as the problem – we all get tarred with the same brush as the incompetent license holding twits you and your government employees union colleagues put behind the wheel!!! Shame on you, you have turned us against each other and you sit just back and watch us fight it out. You don’t even realize that some drivers are up all night just so you can pick up your frickin garden hose or latte’ tomorrow morning and if they’re late….. they are reprimanded, doesn’t matter what the road conditions were.
    Yes trucks spin put in the snow, how come these twits don’t know how to install chains???? That’s on you BC government- you do t demand they know how – do you. No you don’t!?

    Ray Charles could see what the problem is here.

    Take our tax dollars and ride your career into golden retirement – despicable creatures you are.

    • Thanks for sharing your concerns, Larry. While inconvenient for commercial truck drivers, this pilot program is intended to significantly improve the reliability of the highway for passenger vehicles, as 33 of 35 closures last winter involved commercial vehicles. Also, this type of restriction is implemented on three lane sections in many other jurisdictions.

      The Ministry of Attorney General oversees training. ICBC is reviewing the current Class 1 commercial driver training program in BC, and will be looking at the recommendations from that review to see what improvements can be made.

      • You say ICBC is reviewing, and will be looking at the recommendations from that review.
        Who will be making these recommendations?
        I am in discussion with a group of career drivers, I think most of us have 30 plus years of driving. A few of us own and operate medium/large trucking companies, and one of us owns a reputable truck driver training institute. We want to be included in this process, as we have concerns about the curriculum. Our goal is, class 1 drivers who are trained to OPERATE a complex piece of machinery, not just steer it without understanding it. If they can understand it, and operate it, highway safety, courtesy for others, increased productivity, and likely an increase in that drivers wages, will be byproducts of the initial preparation of that driver.
        ICBC is being offered a golden opportunity to tap into a storehouse of knowledge. These are guys with intimate knowledge of trucks, trucking, and truck driving. It could be a win win for ICBC.
        I assure you, a lot of these guys are the best in the biz.
        Thanks for your time.

  28. The last time I chained up on the hill was because your system of notification is very poor. There was no notification at the hunter creek highway signs and no chain up required on the BC highways commercial truck chain up web site. My wife was monitoring the web site right up to the flashing lights at box canyon. I would have avoided the coq if your system worked. And the same thing has happened when the highway was closed because of an accident. The hunter creek sign said the hwy 5 closed, the hope sign said hwy 5 open, and so did drive bc- hwy 5 open.
    Never trust vsa or bc hwy’s. And everybody knows what vsa stands for!

    • Thanks for sharing your experience. I will pass it on to local staff. I don’t know the circumstances around this particular event, but weather can change very quickly, especially through mountain passes.

  29. For all those on this thread citing European regulations, please consider that their geographic size and transportation networks are vastly different from our own. They have substantially less truck traffic over a such a long distance.

    That said, countries like Switzerland are often cited as far more efficient with their snow removal then we are in Western Canada. Being smaller but dense, they have less highway and thus more finances to support it.

    The Coquihalla highway is a primary corridor for commerce into the largest city in Western Canada. The number of trucks running back and forth is far greater than the average layperson understands. To throttle the transportation network will have negative economic impact across the board.

    Instead the direction should be at improving our highway maintenance programs. This requires funding. How do we get funding? Implement tolls back onto this highway and utilize the revenue to provide proper, thorough snow removal.

    This is not a foreign idea and is used throughout Europe and parts of the U.S.

    For those of you forming a lynch mob, I work in professional commercial transportation and know very well the cost this adds to operations.

    For those who would complain about the extra cost of crossing this mountain, take the Canyon.

    The frequent closures on this corridor have resulted in economic damages throughout the province, as suppliers wait, transportation companies sit, perishable goods wither and freight is missed. This all impacts the consumer at the far end.

    A toll payment is a small price to pay to reduce the casualties on this stretch of road and I know several prominent transportation companies that would agree with me. I would be happy to pay if it meant clean, clear roads and peace of mind for everyone in their travels.

    • The canyon is often a dangerous place to drive because of trucks going over the speed limit.

      I would much rather see the money invested into a proper railway network which will be complimented by local delivery trucks. Hauling goods over thousands of km in hundreds of vehicles that go more or less to the same destination is ineffective and counterproductive.

      Which isn’t to say the roads shouldn’t be taken care of. If we cut the profit out of the equation and focused on the job at hand, we could afford more working hands for the same funds.

  30. Commercial drivers who refuse to put chains on and then become stuck should receive a heavy fine plus a hefty towing fee. Repeat offenders should get double the fine. Police should also be nailing these people who don’t who don’t slow down for emergency vehicles and tow truck drivers.

  31. This action can and will cause problems. What is a truck to do if some trucks spins out in the right lanes and only the left lane is open ? Is that truck to stop behind those trucks on use the left open lan and go.
    Stuff like this is not the answer to the problem. What is the answer have the road maintenance look after the hwy like they use to before the tolls were removed and contacted it out. Also how about turning on the old heating system they built into the road .

    • Hi Colin. One of the key reasons we are doing this pilot is because we have seen so many instances where one truck spins out, the next truck spins out in the centre lane, and then another blocks the left lane – completely shutting down the highway. If trucks come upon spun-out trucks in the right and centre lanes, they need to stop, just like they would have to if all three lanes were blocked.

      As for the snowshed heating system from the 90s – it was problematic for various reasons:
      1) The heating cable would corrode and break, creating heated spots and cold spots. We had to break out the concrete in order to conduct repairs.
      2) The approaches were heated and the tunnel wasn’t. The melt water would refreeze in the tunnel, causing its own safety problems.
      3) Electricity costs were very high.

  32. What you don’t seem to understand is the laws of physics override the laws of thevBC government !
    Momentum is an important part of driving a truck so if I am going up the highway with empty b trains at 65 km and come upon two slower trucks in the two right lanes doing 40 km I have to go around them .
    The way you maintain that hill if I slow to under 40 km empty I will spin out when the chain up signs are off !!!

    • Hello Robin – thanks for sharing your concern with us. The “keep right, let others pass” rules are still in effect – we are taking this action to ensure no trucks use the left most lane. Hope that this helps clarify.

      • This is going to cause more spin outs. If two loaded trucks are in the center and far right lane doing 15-30kph, what’s the truck that’s travelling empty or that has a lighter load coming up behind them at 70kph+ (depending on conditions) supposed to do? If he slows down to the speed of the truck in the center lane, waiting for him to make the pass, he’ll spin out. Conditions don’t even have to be treacherous and chain up lights don’t even have to be on for this to happen; only a little bit of ice, slush or snow on the highway.
        Trucks use momentum in these scenarios to avoid spinning out and to maintain traction. Jamie Davis and Al Quiring are going to be busy rescuing these trucks now because BC told them to stay out of the left lane…..
        Scenario #2. What if it’s a perfect winter day. Dry roads, sun is shining, temperatures on the plus side, trucks still can’t use the left lane? Again, if there’s a truck in the right lane and the center lane doing 15-30kph and a truck coming behind them doing the speed limit (or close to) has to jam on his brakes and wait for the center truck to make his pass? If the trucker is maintaining highway speeds what gives cars and passenger vehicles more rights than trucks?

  33. Agree with the change and also support looking at other locations. The 3 lane section on Hwy #1 heading east from 232nd would be another location. Also strongly support the overall concept which is what I have experienced when driving in the UK which also restricts trucks from using the left lane. Note that driving in England is generally a world class experience for courtesy, and overall skill of the motorists.

      • Here’s another thought:
        In regard to trucks not using the left lanes; how about “trucks use left lane”, seems crazy that all of you educated bunch can’t figure out that making these behemoths slow down and then try to regain speed every ten seconds is harmful to the environment, a complete waste of fossil fuel and energy. Considering that most of us are not stopping for the next 100-500 miles, and most of you are getting off at the next bloody exit…. now which of us isn’t being green?

        Not my fault that you have no patience nor tolerance.

  34. So when a slow set of b-trains is doing 10km up the hill , I’m not going to be able to pass him ?
    That will cause more spin outs ! And back ups !
    This is not the answer.

    • Hi Darren – thanks for your comment and we understand your concern. “Keep right, let others pass” rules are still in effect. We simply want to ensure no trucks use the left most lane. Hope that this helps.

      • You obviously have no clue! Nice generic answer for the comments. I run the Coq 3 times a week. Maybe ICBC should quit giving licences to inexperienced drivers who have no sense of what snow can do. More incompetence coming from the BC government. The trucking industry is already so over regulated it’s pathetic. After 34 years(safe years) I’m pretty much done with stupid people making stupid decisions on our hways.

        • You’re talking like all truck drivers driving the Coquihalla are licensed in BC. Like the trucking industry isn’t infamous that people are working thousands of miles from their home all the while being incentivized to drive fast with disregards to safety. I’m sure that’s the ICBC and not the corporate overlords squeezing you dry.

  35. Are you saying that trucks that spun out should have had chains in before they spun out ???

    You guys are the ones that turn on the chain up lights , you guys are the ones that maintain the Hwy , the question I have is why aren’t you doing a better job of maintaining the Hwy and Turning on the chain up lights sooner.

    As I hope you know . The weather at box canyon chain up area can be much different then the weather when exiting the shed .
    While I get what you are doing with restricting the far left lane and I fully agree. I truly hope you are not laying all the blame on the truckers because really it’s up to you to make sure the road is maintained and fit for travel . That includes making sure the chain up lights are on so the drivers of large vehicles can know that the road conditions beyond from what they can see is not ideal.

    • Hi Pat –

      We absolutely value the skills and commitment of the professional drivers who use BC highways and we take the safety of the travelling public very seriously. We work closely with our maintenance contractors to ensure our highways are well taken care of.

      We have several signs leading up to our Box Canyon Chain Up facility that identify the chain up area, as well as a flashing sign that indicates when trucks are required to chain up.

      Our traffic control typically sets up within the chain up area to ensure the site is managed efficiently. We can’t have trucks queue onto the highway, as there is an avalanche path immediately south of the chain up area.

      Our CVSE attend protocol events, where more than 15cm of snow is forecast in a 12 hour period (when mandatory chain up is anticipated). The CVSE officers are positioned at the exit of the chain up facility, as they can only enforce violations, and a violation only occurs when a truck passes the exit of the facility without having chained up. Hope that this helps.

  36. IF there is a storm that is creating/going to create problems, would it not be worth closing the highway for as long as necessary to have 3 snowplows behind/beside each other to clear the road in one run, or make all vehicles travel behind the 3 snowplows so they could do their job efficiently? I remember the days we used to see that happen, and I don’t recall near as many closures. Perhaps when there’s a storm and chains are mandatory a CVSE vehicle should be at the chainup areas to ensure the commercial vehicles are stopping to put their chains on. The cost of having someone sit there I’m sure is far less than the cost of highway closures – whether for accident, spinout, etc.

    • Hi Penny,

      Our maintenance contractors do still run three abreast to clear the road whenever possible/required. The main thing that people should understand about the Coq (and the same applies to all the other mountain passes in BC to greater or lesser extents) is that, in certain circumstances, snowfall intensity and accumulation rates can be extreme – sometimes exceeding 10 cm per hour. A great example of this type of intense accumulation occurred during February of 2014 when ten storm systems delivered a total of 294 cm of new snow over a period of 15 days! The traffic and road conditions resulting from this type of weather may be unpredictable – even with our maintenance crews out there throwing everything they’re got at it.

      Don’t let that worry you though – VSA Highway Maintenance, our maintenance contractor for the route, has a plan. It’s called “the Coquihalla Protocol” and it comes into effect when more than 15-20 cm of snowfall over a 12 hour period (or freezing rain conditions) are predicted and its sole purpose is to make sure we maintain safe and uninterrupted travel through the corridor during heavy snowfall or other challenging weather event.

      We have several signs leading up to the Box Canyon Chain Up facility that identify the chain up area, and a flashing sign that indicates when trucks are required to chain up. Our traffic control typically sets up within the chain up area to ensure the site is managed efficiently. Our CVSE also attend protocol events when mandatory chain up is anticipated. The CVSE officers are positioned at the exit of the chain up facility, as they can only enforce violations, and a violation only occurs when a truck passes the exit of the facility without having chained up.

      Hope that this helps!

      • Have 3 trucks dedicated to that area. They work the pass repeatedly. Have the other trucks in the fleet work the rest of the hwy. And have a permanent heated hut with a DOT officer or police man the hut 24 hrs a day,enforcing the chain up law. They dont leave until chains are on. Yes it will cost money to do so,but how long are you willing to just put bandaid on a open wound. It’s not working whatever your doing. The problem isnt going away until you listen the the truck drivers

  37. I am a regular user of the Coquihalla as a transport drive.
    My wife and I both want to thank you for your continued efforts to make ALL of our British Columbia road safer. Doing this task takes administrative leadership and some decisions are not well received by our trucking industr, but most of us know that the Ministry has our life’s and safety in mind when they are overseeing the whole aspect of safety on our road.
    I always hear some drivers complain about the maintenance of the road during winter season, that the road are not plowed enough or not enough clearing of the snow and gravel. But will all know that these complaints come from the many man (many) drivers who are new, inexperienced and just plain lazy to set themselves up for a safer ride up chaining up, slowing down or just STOP safely pull over with their lights flashing and wait out the storm.
    Relax and have a coffe.
    Remember it is just a job.
    My personal motto is “ME, the TRUCK, the PRODUCT”
    Thanks and please continue to do everything necessary to keep our roads safety including much more enforcement.

        • The main thing that people should understand about the Coq (and the same applies to all the other mountain passes in BC to greater or lesser extents) is that, in certain circumstances, snowfall intensity and accumulation rates can be extreme – sometimes exceeding 10 cm per hour. A great example of this type of intense accumulation occurred during February of 2014 when ten storm systems delivered a total of 294 cm of new snow over a period of 15 days!

  38. Ministry of Transportation should look into commercial traffic practices in Europe where they also restrict commercial traffic to 90 km/hr, no exceptions and electronically monitored for improved safety of all types of traffic.

  39. This is good news. I travel #5 frequently and frequently get stuck behind a truck going a kph quicker than the other truck he’s trying to pass. I understand a big rig goes slow up big long hills, but just cause congestion when they attempt to pass.
    Stay in the right lane and traffic will flow mych better.