With snow and freezing rain in the forecast for the Coquihalla, it is a good time to remind drivers of the new chain up and chain off area.
Experienced professional drivers in BC know that the Coquihalla is not only one of the busiest highways in the province, it can be one of the most treacherous during winter storm conditions. One of actions taken by the BC Government to increase safety on the Coquihalla is the expansion of capacity at the Box Canyon chain-up area.
According to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, “The expansion at Box Canyon, approximately 32 kilometres north of Hope, includes new deceleration and acceleration lanes to make it easier for truck drivers to safely get on and off the highway.”
The project, which was completed in the summer of 2018, provides commercial drivers with a new chain-off area at the Coquihalla summit, and an extension of the third southbound lane exiting the Great Bear Snow Shed.
“This massive expansion at the existing chain-up, with a new chain-off area at the Coquihalla summit, gives truck drivers safe locations and more room off the highway to deal with chains, and keeps other traffic moving,” said Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan, on behalf of Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.
During the winter of 2017 -2018, the Coquihalla summit had a total snowfall of 830 centimetres. That represented a 114% increase over the 10-year average.
Professional drivers are required to use chains in BC’s mountain passes and for selected highways (including mountain passes and rural routes in high snowfall areas), the date is extended until April 30 to account for early-spring snowfall.
Reducing the number of accidents, improving highway safety, and keeping the highways open takes commitment from government, safety organizations like SafetyDriven – TSCBC , companies and individual drivers.
For more assistance and tips on safe winter driving SafetyDriven – TSCBC offers a number of articles, tips and resources.