Coquihalla Highway receives new signs for trucks

New signs on Hwy 5

New traffic signs were installed on the Coquihalla Highway earlier this week.

The ‘No Trucks Left Lane’ signs were installed on Larson Hill to notify commercial drivers that they can no longer travel in the third left lane.

“The ‘No Trucks Left Lane’ signs help improve the safety and reliability of the highway by keeping a path open for plows, emergency crews and other traffic, if trucks spin out,” reads a statement from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

The pilot program launched in 2018 with signs originally installed in the northbound direction of the Snowshed Hill.

At the time, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure released its explanation for installing the signs, and how they expected they would improve travelling conditions.

“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,” reads a statement on the ministry’s website.

“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 (2017), 33 of 35 extended closures on the Coquihalla…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, snowplows 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.”

According to the ministry, the number of closures involving commercial vehicles this past winter season had dropped to three, with two of those on Larson Hill.

“Based on the positive results, we decided to extend the pilot to two more locations on the Coquihalla: southbound in the Larson Hill area, as well as southbound at the Inks Lake Hill leaving Kamloops,” continues the statement.

If commercial vehicles encounter spun-out trucks in the right and centre lane, they must stop as they would if all three lanes were blocked, with no use of the far-left lane permitted.

At this time, there are no plans to install additional signs at other locations along the highway.

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