B.C.’s Coquihalla Highway reopening to all vehicle traffic after floods

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Published January 18, 2022 at 3:45 pm

VICTORIA — A key highway in British Columbia will reopen to regular vehicle traffic on Wednesday, three months after large parts of it were washed away by record rainfall. 

Transportation Minister Rob Fleming says the reopening of the Coquihalla Highway is a significant milestone after the devastation caused by storms, mudslides and washouts in mid-November. 

Fleming says not all regular services on the route connecting the Lower Mainland and the Interior will be available.

Some rest areas will be closed along with electric vehicle charging stations.

Only two of the highway’s four lanes will be in operation. 

Fleming says a state of emergency that was put in place after the flooding will also end at midnight today.

The highway has steep, mountainous sections and Fleming says conditions can change quickly at this time of year on the route. 

“With severe winter weather, people should only be on the highway if their vehicle has good winter tires, a full tank of gas and they have food and water and warm winter clothes with them.” 

Before truckers and intercity buses began using the route on Dec. 20, crews repaired and patched numerous sections over 130 kilometres, including seven collapsed or washed-out bridges. 

A series of atmospheric rivers streamed over the B.C. Lower Mainland and southern Interior over several days in November, washing out major highways, flooding farms and forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2022. 

The Canadian Press

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