Coquihalla reopened but risky

UPDATE 8:20 p.m.

Highway 5 has just been reopened in both directions from Hope to Merritt. 

However DriveBC says the highway is still experiencing heavy snowfall with poor visibility.

Travellers are advised to exercise caution and watch for narrowed lane widths and slow moving trucks over the Coquihalla Summit.

Travel is not recommended unless absolutely necessary.

Check DriveBC for current conditions. 

7:00 p.m.

Highway 5 is still closed in both directions from Hope to Merritt.

DriveBC says the highway is not just closed for avalanche control but also because of poor conditions. 

The highway is  experiencing heavy snowfall and poor visibility.

Check DriveBC for current conditions

UPDATE 3:40 p.m.

Highway 5 is closed in both directions from Hope to Merritt for avalanche clean-up. Alternate routes Highway 8 and 1 or Highway 3. Estimated time of opening between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Next update at 5 p.m.

UPDATE 1:53 p.m. 

The Highway 5 closure and its expected opening time has been extended once again. 

The Coquihalla is closed in both directions from Hope to Merritt for avalanche control and clean-up.

The new estimated time of opening is between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

The next update is expected at 3:00 p.m. 

10 A.M. 

Highway 5 is still closed in both directions from Hope to Merritt for Avalanche Control and assessment.

The new estimated time of opening is between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. 

The next update from DriveBC is expected 12:00 p.m. 

UPDATE 8:10 P.M. 

Highway 5 is closed in both directions from Hope to Merritt for avalanche control and assessment.

The current estimated time of opening is between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Wednesday Feb. 19.

DriveBC says the next update will be available at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Bob Gilowski of VSA Highway Maintenance, the company that services large portions of the highway, says the depth of the avalanche was between half a metre and a metre but nobody was hurt in the naturally occurring event.

He says more than 200 centimetres of snow has fallen on the Coquihalla's summit in just over one week.

The highway was closed for avalanche control for a four-hour period on Saturday morning as well.

Check DriveBC for updates. 

Hwy. 1 was also closed Wednesday morning.

Send photos and video to [email protected]

-- With files from The Canadian Press 


The Coquihalla Highway between Hope and Merritt has been closed in both directions because of an avalanche hazard. There is no estimated time of re-opening. Highway 1 is closed in both directions from Hope to Lytton due to several motor vehicle crashes. Estimated time of re-opening is between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Detour available on Highway 3.

UPDATE 4:15 P.M.

Highway 5 has reopened in the Box Canyon area, however, DriveBC has issued a Travel Advisory for the highway. Travel is not recommended on Highway 5 between Hope and Merritt due to limited visibility from heavy snowfall.

UPDATE 3:01 P.M.

Hwy. 1 will be closed in both directions 26 km west of Revelstoke to 9 km west of Revelstoke because of Avalanche Control from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. on Wed Feb 19.

UPDATE 2:22 P.M. 

Hwy. 5 is closed northbound at the Box Canyon Chain-up Area because of an accident. The estimated time of opening is currently unavailable. An assessment is in progress. 

Travellers are also advised that Hwy. 5 could be closed at any time and on short notice for the next 36-hours because of the avalanche risk. 

As well, to safeguard road users, helicopter avalanche control has been tentatively scheduled, weather permitting for Feb 19 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

The earlier Travel Advisory is also still in effect due to 'Limited Visibility with Heavy Snowfall from Hope to Merritt.'

Travel is not recommended. Check DriveBC for updates. 

Update -- 11:30 a.m.

DriveBC has issued a travel advisory for the Coquihalla highway.

Heavy snowfall from Exit 202, the Portia Interchange to Merritt is causing limited visibility and travel is not recommended.

Motorists should not be fooled by the calm and sometimes clear conditions in the Central Okanagan today, there will be snow in the higher elevations.

DriveBC is reporting heavy snowfall to continue on the Coquihalla highway between Merritt and Hope today.

That is in line with what Environment Canada is forecasting – between 20 and 30 centimetres of snow over the next 24 hours and up to 40 centimetres over the Coquihalla summit.

The same conditions can be expected along Highway 3 from Hope to Princeton via the Allison Pass.


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