Changes coming to the Coquihalla on its 30th anniversary

By James Peters
May 25, 2016 - 11:29am Updated: May 25, 2016 - 5:38pm

MERRITT, B.C. — The province is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the completion of the Coquihalla Highway with a host of improvements to the route.

The first will be an expansion of the Box Canyon commercial vehicle chain-up area, that comes with a 17.6 million dollar price tag.

"This is the site every single Winter of a pretty challenging section of the highway. When we see snow there is not enough room at the present location for trucks to pull over and put their chains on. Often those commercial trucks end up backing up into the highway creating a pretty siginifigant safety hazard for everyone else," said Stone.

Stone adds the Box Canyon chain-up area is too small to accommodate the number of truck drivers who need to use it during a typical snowfall, and this expansion will help prevent parked trucks from backing up into the travel lanes.

Several of the workers who built the highway were with Transportation Minister Todd Stone when he announced the improvements this morning.

"There were a little over 10,000 who contributed to building the project through what is arguably some of the most challenging terrain in the entire province," explained Stone, adding, "For a highway that today is close to 4 million vehicles per year, it is a critical East-West artery that really links British Columbia to the rest of Canada."

Coquihalla Highway construction by the numbers:

  • 320 kilometres long
  • Phase 1 completed on May 16, 1986
  • Phase 2 completed on Sept. 4, 1987
  • Phase 3 completed on Oct. 1, 1990
  • Over 49,000 direct and indirect jobs were created
  • Over nine million cubic metres of rock were blasted during construction
  • 86 kilometres of culvert pipe
  • 240,000 tonnes of concrete
  • 40,000 tonnes of steel
  • 172 kilometres of fencing
  • 280 kilometres of median and guard rail

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