Coquihalla Highway to be closed overnight for avalanche control | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Coquihalla Highway to be closed overnight for avalanche control

FILE PHOTO - A crew works to clear the Coquihalla Highway avalanche control, March 21, 2012.
Image Credit: Contributed/Ministry of Transportation
January 05, 2021 - 11:27 AM

Drive BC issued a heads-up today, Jan. 5, warning motorists that a long stretch of the Coquihalla Highway will be closed overnight for avalanche control.

From 10 p.m. today, Jan. 5, to 4 a.m. Wednesday, Highway 5 will be closed in both directions between the Peers Creek Road exit and Exit 286 to Merritt.

The entire stretch is about 101.8 kilometres, and spans the area that’s six kilometres north of Hope to one km south of Merritt, and there will be avalanche control being conducted throughout.

"The avalanche control, using explosives, is due to heavy snowfall over the last several weeks. This will remove any weak layers of snow and ice and reduce the overall depth of the snowpack, providing continued safe travel for people using the Coquihalla," reads a B.C. government press release on the closure.

"The Coquihalla Summit has received over 70 centimetres of snowfall since Dec. 31, 2020, and more snow is expected through the end of this week. Based on records dating back to 1986 when the highway opened, the current accumulations in the area are the third-deepest snowpack for this time of year. The current total accumulation to date is over 500 cm, which is 150% of the average snowfall for this time of the year."

They say the ministry's avalanche program is run by highly trained avalanche professionals who monitor weather and snowpack conditions continuously during the avalanche season. The program manages more than 60 avalanche areas that include almost 1,400 individual avalanche paths throughout the province.

Alternate routes are available via Highway 1 and Highway 3.

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