British Columbia Highway 5

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Highway 5 shield

Highway 5
Southern Yellowhead Highway
Coquihalla Highway
Route information
Length 543.3 km[1] (337.6 mi)
Coquihalla Highway: 185.6 km (115.3 mi)
Existed 1941 – present
Major junctions
South end Hwy 1 (TCH) near Hope
  Hwy 3 near Hope
Hwy 5A / Hwy 8 / Hwy 97C in Merritt
Hwy 1 (TCH) / Hwy 97 in Kamloops
Hwy 5A in Kamloops
Hwy 24 in Little Fort
North end Hwy 16 (TCH) near Tête Jaune Cache
Location
Districts Hope, Barriere, Clearwater
Major cities Merritt, Kamloops
Villages Valemount
Highway system

British Columbia provincial highways

Hwy 4 Hwy 5A

Highway 5 is a 524 km (326 mi) north-south route in southern British Columbia, Canada. Highway 5 connects the southern Trans-Canada route (Highway 1) with the northern Yellowhead route (Highway 16), providing the shortest land connection between Vancouver and both Edmonton and Calgary. A portion of Highway 5 south of Kamloops is also known as the Coquihalla Highway; the northern portion is known as the Southern Yellowhead Highway. The Coquihalla section was a toll road until 2008.

A plaque commemorating the opening of the Coquihalla Highway in Hope, British Columbia.

The current Highway 5 is not the first highway in B.C. to have this designation. From 1941 to 1953, the section of present-day Highway 97 and Highway 97A, between Kaleden, just north of Osoyoos, and Salmon Arm, was formerly Highway 5. In 1953, the '5' designation was moved to designate Highway 5A, south of Kamloops, to north of Kamloops. In 1986, Highway 5 was re-routed between Hope and Merritt. The re-routed section of highway between Merritt and Kamloops was completed in 1987. The total cost for the highway between Hope and Merritt was approximately $848 million.[2]

South of Kamloops, Highway 5 is known as the Coquihalla Highway (colloquially "the Coq"; pronounced "coke"), 186 km (116 mi) of freeway, varying between four and six lanes with a posted speed limit of 120 km/h (75 mph). The Coquihalla approximately traces through the Cascade Mountains the route of the former Kettle Valley Railway, which existed between 1912 and 1958. It is so-named because near Hope, it generally follows the Coquihalla River, for about 60 km (37 mi), and uses the Coquihalla Pass.

In 2003, Premier Gordon Campbell announced the Liberal government would turn over toll revenue to a private operator, along with responsibility for operation, and maintenance of "the Coq". In response to strong opposition from the public, and numerous businesses, in the Interior of British Columbia, the provincial government shelved the move three months later.[citation needed]

On September 26, 2008, the provincial government permanently lifted the Coquihalla tolls, effective 1:00 pm that day.[2][3] Subsequently, the toll station and signs were dismantled.[4]

Effective July 2, 2014, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure increased the speed limit of Coquihalla Highway from 110 km/h (68 mph) to 120 km/h (75 mph) after conducting an engineering assessment and province-wide speed review.[5]

Signs along the Coquihalla Highway frequently warn drivers to be aware of sudden changes in weather. The highway is particularly dangerous during winter seasons, with extreme snowfall that can exceed more than 10 centimetres (3.9 in) per hour.[6] While road maintenance strives to keep the roads as clear as possible, it is not unheard of for the highway to shut down, sometimes with travelers forced to stay overnight in their cars.

According to ICBC there were 32 fatal crashes between 2004 and 2013, and an estimated 400-500 accidents occur during the winter seasons.[7] Global News listed the stretch between Merritt and Hope as one of the deadliest highways in BC.[8] DriveBC keeps up to date with reports on Coquihalla Highway conditions, including live webcams in several locations.[9]

Although the Yellowhead Highway system is considered part of the Trans-Canada Highway network, the Highway 5 segment is not marked as such. Highway 5 is, however, designated as a core route of Canada's National Highway System.

Route details

Great Bear snow shed, approaching from the north
Southern Yellowhead Highway 5, southbound

Highway 5 begins south at the junction with Crowsnest Highway (Highway 3) at uninhabited "Othello", 7 km (4.3 mi) east of Hope (named after a nearby siding on the Kettle Valley Railway, which used many Shakespearean names). Exit numbers on the Coquihalla are a continuation of those on Highway 1 west of Hope. The speed limit on the Coquihalla Highway south of Merritt is 120 km/h (75 mph). 35 km (22 mi) north of Othello, after passing through five interchanges, Highway 5 reaches the landmark Great Bear snow shed. The location of the former toll booth is 13 km (8 mi) north of the snow shed, passing through another interchange and the 1,244 m (4,081 ft) Coquihalla Pass. Highway 5 was the only highway in British Columbia to have tolls; a typical passenger vehicle toll was C$10.[10] Now free to drive, at the Coquihalla Lakes junction, the highway crosses from the Fraser Valley Regional District into the Thompson-Nicola Regional District. 61 km (38 mi) and five interchanges north of the former toll plaza, the Coquihalla enters the city of Merritt. There it joins Highway 5A and Highway 97C.

This diagram illustrates the wrong-way concurrency between Highways 5 and 97 through Kamloops. Example of road sign

Highway 5 travels 4 km (2.5 mi) through the eastern area of Merritt before reaching its northern junction with Highway 5A. From there, the Coquihalla has three more interchanges and one mountain pass – the Surrey Lake Summit – in the 72 km (45 mi) between Merritt and its end at a junction with Highways 1 and 97. Highway 5 continues east for 12 km (7.5 mi) concurrently with Highways 1 and 97, through Kamloops. This stretch of road, which carries 97 South and 5 North on the same lanes (and vice versa), is the only wrong-way concurrency in British Columbia.

After separating from Highways 1 and 97, Highway 5 proceeds north for approximately 19 km (12 mi), temporarily leaving Kamloops city limits as a four-lane highway, before re-entering the city at the Rayleigh community, then continuing north. It becomes a two-lane highway at Heffley Creek and the exit to Sun Peaks resorts, both of which indicate the final northern boundary of Kamloops.

Highway 5 follows the North Thompson River north from Heffley Creek for approximately 54 km (34 mi), along a parallel course with a branch of the Canadian National Railway, passing through Barriere, to a junction with Highway 24 at Little Fort. 30 km (19 mi) north of Little Fort, while continuing to follow the North Thompson and the CN Railway, Highway 5 then reaches the community of Clearwater. It proceeds northeast for another 107 km (66 mi), passing Vavenby and Avola en route to the community of Blue River; then 109 km (68 mi) further north through the Columbia Mountains, it crosses into the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George, passing by the community of Valemount to its northern terminus at Tête Jaune Cache, where it meets Highway 16.

Exit list

From south to north, the following intersections are observed along Highway 5:[11][12]

Regional District Location km[1] mi Exit[13] Name[13] Destinations Notes
Freeway and exit numbers continues along Hwy 1 (TCH) west – Vancouver
Fraser Valley Hope 0.00 0.00 170 Hope Hwy 1 (TCH) east (Water Avenue) – Cache Creek, Kamloops, Prince George East end of Hwy 3 concurrency; no westbound exit
0.99 0.62 171 To Hwy 1 (TCH) east (3 Avenue) – Hope, Cache Creek Westbound exit only
3.08 1.91 173 Thacker Creek Old Hope-Princeton Way (Hwy 915:1300 west) Hwy 915:1300 is unsigned; no westbound entrance
6.67 4.14 177 Othello Hwy 3 east (Crowsnest Highway) – Princeton, Penticton, Osoyoos East end of Hwy 3 concurrency
South end of Coquihalla Highway
13.00 8.08 183 Peers Creek Othello Road – Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park
22.02 13.68 192 Jessica Sowaqua Creek Road
25.77 16.01 195 Carolin Carolin Mines Road
29.68 18.44 200 Shylock Shylock Road (U-turn route only) Southbound exit and northbound entrance.
31.19 19.38 202 Portia Portia, Old Coquihalla Road No southbound exit.
42.21 26.23 Great Bear Snowshed
45.53 28.29 217 Zopkios Zopkios rest area
48.93 30.40 Coquihalla Pass – 1,244 m (4,081 ft)
51.35 31.91 221 Falls Lake Falls Lake Road
↑ / ↓ 52.22 32.45 Dry Gulch Bridge
Thompson-Nicola 58.11 36.11 228 Coquihalla Lakes Coquihalla Lakes Road – Britton Creek Rest Area
61.09 37.96 231 Mine Creek Mine Creek Road (U-turn route only) Southbound exit and northbound entrance.
61.2 38.0 238 Juliet Juliet Creek Road – Coldwater River Provincial Park
79.69 49.52 250 Larson Hill Larson Hill
86.46 53.72 256 Kingsvale Coldwater Road
106.32 66.06 276 Comstock Comstock Road
Merritt 115.99 72.07 286 Coldwater Hwy 5A south – Princeton
Hwy 8 west (Nicola Avenue) – Spences Bridge
Hwy 97C – Ashcroft, Logan Lake, Kelowna
119.96 74.54 290 Nicola Hwy 5A north / Voght Street – Quilchena, Kamloops
145.31 90.29 315 Helmer Helmer Road
152.60 94.82 Surrey Lake Summit – 1,444 m (4,738 ft)
167.11 103.84 336 Walloper Hwy 97D south / Lac Le Jeune Road – Logan Lake
185.48 115.25 355 Inks Lake Inks Lake Road
Kamloops 192.22 119.44 362 Afton Hwy 1 (TCH) west – Cache Creek, Lytton, Vancouver
Hwy 97 north – Cache Creek, Prince George
To Hwy 99 south – Lillooet
West end of Hwy 1 / Hwy 97 concurrency
North end of Coquihalla Highway
196.45 122.07 366 Copperhead Copperhead Drive, Lac le Jeune Road
198.13 123.11 367 Pacific Way Pacific Way
198.92 123.60 368 Aberdeen Hwy 5A south / Hillside Way – Merritt
200.22 124.41 369 Sagebrush Columbia Street – City Centre Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
200.80 124.77 370 Springhill Summit Drive – City Centre Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
204.29 126.94 374 Yellowhead Hwy 1 (TCH) east – Salmon Arm, Banff, Calgary
Hwy 97 south – Vernon
East end of Hwy 1 / Hwy 97 concurrency
South end of Southern Yellowhead Highway • Hwy 5 exits freeway using Exit 374.
↑ / ↓ 204.74 127.22 Yellowhead Bridge over South Thompson River
Kamloops No. 1 206.09 128.06 Shuswap Road Signalized, at-grade intersection
208.16 129.34 Mount Paul Way Signalized, at-grade intersection
210.04 130.51 Halston Road (Hwy 921:1771 west) / Paul Lake Road (Hwy 921:1773 east) – North Shore, Kamloops Airport Signalized, at-grade intersection; Hwy 915:1771 and Hwy 915:1773 is unsigned
Kamloops 220.16 136.80 Puett Ranch Road
228.74 142.13 Tod Mountain Road (Hwy 921:1776 east) – Sun Peaks Hwy 915:1776 is unsigned
Barriere 267.64 166.30 Barriere Town Road, Lilley Road
270.06 167.81 Barriere North Thompson Bridge across North Thompson River
Little Fort 297.88 185.09 Hwy 24 west – Bridge Lake
319.86 198.75 Old North Thompson Highway (Hwy 921:1765 north) Hwy 921:1765 is unsigned
Clearwater 327.04 203.21 Old North Thompson Highway, Clearwater Village Road Connects to unsigned Hwy 921:1765 south
328.08 203.86 Clearwater Valley Road, Park Drive – Wells Gray Provincial Park Roundabout
Avola 395.43 245.71 Avola North Thompson Bridge across North Thompson River
423.68 263.26 Six Mile Bridge across North Thompson River
Blue River 434.43 269.94 Angus Horne Street, Shell Road
474.40 294.78 Lempriere Bridge across North Thompson River
477.34 296.61 Moombeam Bridge across North Thompson River
478.91 297.58 Gosnell Bridge across North Thompson River
Fraser-Fort George Valemount 523.94 325.56 5th Avenue, Pine Road Signalized, at-grade intersection
Tête Jaune Cache 543.13 337.49 Tête Jaune Bridge across Fraser River
543.33 337.61 Tête Jaune Hwy 16 (TCH) – McBride, Prince George, Jasper, Edmonton Interchange
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Name

An archived article from the BC government website provides insight on the name Coquihalla: "Kw'ikw'iya:la (Coquihalla) in the Halq'emeylem language of the Stó:lō, is a place name meaning 'stingy container.' It refers specifically to a fishing rock near the mouth of what is now known as the Coquihalla River. This rock is a good platform for spearing salmon. According to Stó:lō oral history, the skw'exweq (water babies, underwater people) who inhabit a pool close by the rock, would swim out and pull the salmon off the spears, allowing only certain fisherman to catch the salmon."[14] The route is also often referred to simply as "The Coq" (pronounced "coke").

Popular culture

  • BC5 is the main highway serviced in Discovery Channel show, Highway Thru Hell.
  • The song "Hurtin' Albertan" by country singer Corb Lund makes reference to the Coquihalla in the lyric "...there's good weather up on the Coke."
  • The Canadian pop-punk band Chixdiggit featured a song about the road, "I Drove The Coquihalla," on its self-titled debut Chixdiggit! (Sub Pop, 1996).

Gallery

References

Route map: Google

KML is from Wikidata
  1. ^ a b Landmark Kilometre Inventory (PDF). British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (Report). Cypher Consulting. July 2016. pp. 171–176, 202. 
  2. ^ a b Tolls taken off Coquihalla Archived 2015-10-17 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Premier Announces End of Tolls
  4. ^ Coquihalla Tollbooths Demolished
  5. ^ Actions to improve safety on B.C.'s rural highways
  6. ^ https://www.tranbc.ca/2016/12/22/what-you-need-to-know-about-winter-weather-on-the-coq/
  7. ^ http://www.dangerousroads.org/north-america/canada/4008-coquihalla-highway.html
  8. ^ https://globalnews.ca/news/1819213/british-columbias-12-deadliest-highways/
  9. ^ http://images.drivebc.ca/bchighwaycam/pub/html/www/index-Northern.html#groupNorthern5
  10. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/coquihalla-highway-tolls-dropped-says-b-c-premier-1.727989
  11. ^ Super, Natural British Columbia Road Map & Parks Guide (Map) (2010-2011 ed). Davenport Maps Ltd. in co-operation with Tourism British Columbia. § H-10, § J-9, § J-10, § K-9, and § L-9.
  12. ^ British Columbia Road Atlas (2007 ed.). Oshawa, ON: MapArt Publishing Corp. pp. 37, 46, 47, 57, 58, and 69. ISBN 1-55368-018-9. 
  13. ^ a b "Highway Exits & Landmarks - Coquihalla Highway 5 Starts (Yellowhead Route)". British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  14. ^ B.C. Ministry of Transportation Archived August 25, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. - Coquihalla Rates and Information
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