Trucks barred from left lane

Coming upon a parking lot of red brake lights on the approach to the Coquihalla Highway's snowshed is an all-too-familiar sight for drivers of the notorious highway in winter months. 

This week, B.C.'s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is looking to help the situation this winter by restricting commercial vehicles from using the far left lane on the Snowshed Hill, between the Box Canyon rest area and the Zokpios brake check.

“Over the past couple of winter seasons, commercial vehicles on the Coquihalla have been spinning out in climbing sections more frequently during storms,” the ministry said in a press release.

Last winter, 33 of the 35 extended closures of the Coquihalla involved commercial vehicles.

“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,” the ministry says.

The ministry hopes the “No trucks in the left lane” pilot program will help reduce highway closures during heavy snowfalls. Snowshed Hill is the area of the highway most prone to spun-out commercial trucks, but the ministry says they may extend the program to other sections of Interior highways in the future. 

“By restricting trucks from the left 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,” the ministry said.

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