The 'essential' travel rules on highways between southern Interior and Lower Mainland | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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The 'essential' travel rules on highways between southern Interior and Lower Mainland

B.C. RCMP and Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement road check along Highway 3, Nov. 20, 2021.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Province of B.C.

With select provincial highways open on a limited basis, the B.C. Highway Patrol is urging all drivers to be cautious if planning to travel to and from the Lower Mainland.

“B.C. Highway Patrol is urging all motorists to heed these travel restrictions and avoid all non-essential travel. This allows emergency personnel, highways crews and essential goods and supplies to reach those most in need,” B.C. Highway Patrol media relations officer Cpl. Mike Halskov.

Only essential travel is recommended. Travellers can expect road checks on all affected highways, and to be turned back if their travel is not considered essential.

Under the provincial order, essential vehicles include emergency service vehicles, public transit, commercial transport of goods and services, refrigerated trucks, portable water and wastewater services, home-care workers, couriers, B.C. utility vehicles, school buses, taxis, farm-use vehicles and veterinarians supporting flood response.

READ MORE: Ottawa clarifies COVID-19 travel exemption on B.C.-U.S. border during floods

Travel for vacations, tourism, social reasons, casual shopping and recreation activities is not permitted.

Motorists who don’t comply with travel restrictions could face fines starting at $230.

“To my knowledge, British Columbians followed the orders pretty well. They’re putting fellow British Columbians first. They understand who is a priority and who isn’t. No fines were issued throughout the weekend,” Minister of Transportation Rob Fleming said during a press conference yesterday, Nov. 22.

Highway patrol is also advising any travellers going through the Lower Mainland area to check Drive B.C. for open routes, expect delays and winter driving conditions, use winter tires and chains, give themselves extra time, pack food, clothing, fully charged phone and charger, and obey the direction of police and traffic control.

Currently, Highway 99 connecting the Lower Mainland to Pemberton, Lillooet and the Interior, southern interior B.C. routes using Highway 7 and Highway 3, and eastbound lanes on Highway 1 between Highway 11 east to Cole Road are open for essential travel, emergency access and agricultural operations, the Ministry of Transportation said.

READ MORE: 'Parade of storms' expected in British Columbia: Environment Canada

B.C. Highway Patrol will be visible on the highways most severely affected by the storm.

“We urge everyone to only travel if it is essential,” Chief Supt. Holly Turton, officer in charge of the highway patrol, said in a media release.

"If we all work together, it will serve to get supplies to those in urgent need and allow the rebuilding of our important highway network. Please be safe and follow the direction of police officers and traffic control personnel who are doing their job to keep all motorists safe,” she said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Emily Rogers or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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