Coquihalla Highway to close overnight Jan. 5 to Jan. 6 for avalanche control

All lanes of the highway between Merritt and Hope will be closed from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Alternative routes are available via highways 1 and 3.

The Coquihalla Highway between Merritt and Hope will be closed for six hours overnight Tuesday (Jan. 5) and into Wednesday as crews perform avalanche control work at the summit of the highway.

All lanes of the highway connecting the B.C. Interior to the Lower Mainland will be closed from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Alternative routes are available via highways 1 and 3.

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The avalanche control, using explosives, is due to heavy snowfall over the last several weeks. The work will remove any weak layers of snow and ice and reduce the overall depth of the snowpack.

The Coquihalla summit has received more than 70 centimetres of snow since Dec. 31 and more snow is expected through the end of this week. Based on records dating back to 1986, when the highway opened, the current accumulations in the area are the third-deepest snowpack for this time of year. The current total accumulation to date is in excess of 50 centimetres, which is 150 per cent of the average snowfall for this time of the year.

The ministry's avalanche program is run by avalanche professionals who monitor weather and snowpack conditions continuously during avalanche season. The program manages more than 60 avalanche areas that include almost 1,400 individual avalanche paths throughout the province.

For the most up-to-date highway travel information, check @DriveBC on Twitter or go online to drivebc.ca.

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