B.C. (NEWS 1130) — Highway 1 between Revelstoke and Golden has been re-opened after it was shut down several hours Thursday because of avalanche risks along that stretch, but there will be heavy delays and congestion.
Drive B.C. says the risk of an avalanche is high and the Trans Canada will be shut down until around 10 p.m. Thursday. Avalanche risks also have 8 km of Highway 31 closed between Galena Bay and Trout Lake, and Highway 23 north of Mica Dam is also closed and wont be opened until 5 p.m. tomorrow.
The closures come as winter weather and heavy rains hit areas across the province.
— Drive BC (@DriveBC) January 4, 2019
If you’re heading out of town, conditions on the Coquihallla Highway between Hope and Merritt could get nasty, as hazardous winter conditions are expected. Rain will switch back to snow this evening, with up to 25 cm expected by Friday afternoon.
Earlier today, the Kootenay Pass on Highway 3 was closed for avalanche control as well, but has been re-opened.
Drivers are reminded to have the proper tires and equipment if they plan to drive in these conditions.
Avalanche Canada warns about risks
Meantime, backcountry skiers should also take note of the avalanche risk in this region.
Avalanche Canada says the coast and the Sea to Sky region is under an extreme avalanche risk, partly because the region is expecting up to 100 c.m. of fresh snow before the end of tomorrow.
⚠️ Many areas remain at high avalanche danger for Friday and @ParksCanada are forecasting extreme risk in areas. Make good choices.
Get the forecast for your area
Winds will create what Avalanche Canada considers perfect conditions for storm slab avalanches in the Alpine and treeline areas of the Sea to Sky and south coast.
The extreme rating means that those who use the backcountry should avoid all avalanche terrain and that large, natural or human-triggered avalanches are certain.
Road maintenance crews preparing for conditions
With conditions expected to be challenging on the highways, Bob Gilowski with VSA Highway Maintenance says it’s important to be prepared before heading out on the road.
“This morning and into this afternoon, we’re expecting nothing but rain,” he tells NEWS 1130. “However, as we get into tonight, we are expecting anywhere between 10 and 20 centimetres of snowfall.”
He encourages drivers to plan their travels ahead of time and check resources like Drive BC before heading out, and also asks people to give themselves extra time for their commute later in the day.
You’re also being reminded to give snow plows and other road maintenance vehicles plenty of room to do their work.
“The men and women behind those plow trucks are working 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whether or not they can be seen on the highway, I can assure people that they are out there. While they are engaged in highway maintenance and snow removal, stay well back of them.”
Flashing lights indicate plows are engaged in their activities.
Snowplow Etiquette: A New Year's Reminder: Don’t Pass Snow Plows with Flashing Lights⚠️
— Drive BC (@DriveBC) January 2, 2019
Gilowski says his teams have seen a decrease in people getting a little too impatient around trucks and plows, and believes the messaging is working.
“These vehicles are there for everybody’s safety and to make the roads clear, so give them some extra room and allow them to do their jobs.”
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– With files from Hana Mae Nassar, Dean Recksiedler, Tim James, Renee Bernard, Lauren Boothby, and The Canadian Press