Coquihalla contractor urges caution during Christmas commute

By Greg Fry
December 21, 2017 - 2:36pm

KAMLOOPS — If you plan on using the Coquihalla Highway to get where you're going this holiday season, Friday and Saturday are your best bets.

"We're not expecting any snow to occur on Friday and Saturday and we're anticipating those days as being the big rush days for the commuters travelling to their destinations either to the coast or from the coast to the Interior," says Bob Gilowski, spokesperson for VSA Highway Maintenance, the company that maintains a large portion of the Coquihalla.

"But I just want to remind people, be aware winter driving conditions still exist even if there's no snow. And plan for extra time on their commutes. A good resource for people to rely on is Drive BC which will provide anybody who is using the highway system with the most recent road and weather conditions."

Gilowski says the highway received over 40 centimetres of the white stuff over the course of Monday and Tuesday.

"And then following directly in behind that was a rapidly cooling event. So, although we removed all the snow buildup off of the travelling lanes, because of the cold, we weren't able to really take advantage of our de-icing chemicals. And right now the Coquihalla is mostly in a compact snow state."

Despite the compact snow, he says crews are out applying abrasives for traction as well as "isolating grooves inside that compact snow to also enhance traction."

And if you see VSA maintenance vehicles with their yellow flashing lights, Gilowski asks motorists to "back off."

"Allow that vehicle to do its job. If it's flashing yellow, its performing a winter maintenance activity such as plowing snow, applying abrasives, or it's a grader ice-blading the surface."

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