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UPDATE: Coquihalla reopens; Trans Canada to coast remains closed

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February 10, 2017 - 2:19 PM

KAMLOOPS - The Coquihalla Highway has reopened, allowing traffic through for the first time since yesterday evening.

Drive B.C. says Highway 5 is open, but drivers should use extreme caution and travel at a maximum of 80 km/h. Drivers are also reminded not to pass snow clearing vehicles and to watch for disabled vehicles on the side of the road.

VSA Highway Maintenance, the company with the contract to maintain the Coquihalla Highway, said in a tweet earlier this morning "due to the high concern for the stranded motorist on the Coq, crews will be handing out water, food, fuel to those in need."

The Coquihalla Highway was closed much of yesterday, reopening at around 4 p.m. only to be closed for the night a couple hours later after the crash.

At the height of the closures after the Thursday storm, all mountain passes into the Interior had been closed because of a risk of avalanche.

Conditions eased slightly by midday Friday, with the ministry reporting Highway 3 east of Hope was open to travel along B.C.'s southern border, and Highway 99 had reopened through to Lillooet.

There was no estimated time of opening for Highway 1 through the Fraser Canyon near Lytton.

As well, many routes through southern and southeastern B.C. faced sporadic closures for avalanche control after the storm dumped heavy, wet snow across most of southern B.C.

Travellers on the highway, including sports teams like the Salmon Arm Silverbacks BCHL hockey team, took to social media to share photos of ice on the highway glistening in the morning sunlight.

The snow prompted an Avalanche Canada advisory cautioning backcountry users that conditions were ripe for dangerous slides.

Backcountry users were urged to avoid heading out this weekend, or to ensure they have advanced avalanche training and carry all the equipment needed to rescue themselves.

Drive B.C. also has warnings for many interior highways, check the website for up-to-date conditions.

— With files from The Canadian Press

— This story was updated at 2:16 p.m., Friday, Feb. 10, 2017 to say the Coquihalla Highway had reopened.


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