driving in Canada

main street

Doing what I want.
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Jul 11, 2006
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And therein lies a good reason to avoid the Coq.

So in the middle of winter, what alternate route would you suggest to transit Van - Kamloops or Van - Kelowna ?

Particularly with the knowledge that no matter what, you're going to transit mountainous sections ?

Also bearing in mind that the Coq is one of the most patrolled roads in BC ? .... Particularly during nasty weather.

The actual key here is better trip planning and VERY defensive driving..... Particularly on unfamiliar roads in conditions that simply never exist in Australia for extended journeys.
 

sly_karma

Green Bastard
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Dec 12, 2005
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Hopefully no one on this board will need their services, but if you're west of Prince George and have to call a tow truck, who better to get than Giver A Yank Towing Ltd from Vanderhoof?

Screenshot_20211106-095340_Facebook.jpg
 

main street

Doing what I want.
Ski Pass
Jul 11, 2006
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Kelowna, BC

sly_karma

Green Bastard
Ski Pass
Dec 12, 2005
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Penticton, BC
Bad day on the roads for sure. The bridge on the Coq will be a headache for sure, just don't know yet how big or how long. Could be one lane traffic through that area for a few months while they rebuild. But if the geotechs find the abutments of the northbound bridge are compromised as well, then it's no Coquihalla at all well into spring. Hoo boy, the premier road link between Canada's busiest port and the rest of the country taken out in a few hours. Engineering for that road was state of the art for the mid 80s, but it looks like they got their 200 year event just 35 years in.
 
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sly_karma

Green Bastard
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Dec 12, 2005
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All four routes still closed this morning. Today's task will be assess and triage: which of highway 1 or 3 can we get open soonest? Repairs are needed to all, but what is the path of least resistance to re-establish a connection to the rest of Canada?

Yes folks, it's that serious. Australian analogy: imagine a scenario where all roads out of the Sydney metro area were closed indefinitely. Not just the obvious ones through difficult terrain like the Pacific around the Hawkesbury, the Blue Mtns and the Illawarra Escarpment, but every last one of them, highways and back roads alike. And the railways are closed too, at least until debris can be cleared and safety assessments made. Meantime nothing moves out of the ports to the rest of the country, except for small quantities of high value freight by air. Economic damage will be real.

The only connection out of metro Vancouver for now is south to Seattle and eastward via the American interstate highway system. That turns the 1000 km drive to Calgary into a 1400 km trip and places severe load on a 250 km section in southeastern BC that is not engineered for the traffic it's about to receive.
 

main street

Doing what I want.
Ski Pass
Jul 11, 2006
74,296
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Kelowna, BC
The 21/22 winters drive. Very grim in coastal BC.

20211117_073628.jpg


No roads, no railways, no coke till summer :(

That's the most likely interim route for almost all produce for the interior of BC ..... Friend of ours that lives across the street works in Superstore as a manager,.... She just got home & said Superstore is basically empty of ALL items food & produce wise..... By lunchtime it was pretty much cleaned out...... The panic buying has been nuts. :(

They are already getting loads going in convoys via the US.

Thank goodness for two rather full pantry's and 3 very full freezers that we simply keep "topped up" on a weekly basis.....
 
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sly_karma

Green Bastard
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Transcanada Highway at Abbotsford. US border somewhere in background swamp.

Word coming tonight that the Vedder Canal pump has failed and the Fraser is draining into the area in the picture - formerly called Sumas Lake until it was canalised and drained 80 years ago as a flood control measure. Natural disaster is growing by the day.

51684960583_1dc89db735_o_3080.jpg
 

sly_karma

Green Bastard
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Dec 12, 2005
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Penticton, BC
One of the slides in the Fraser Canyon, this one is about 20 km north of Hope. Gives a good idea of the terrain along this route, and there's over 100 km like this - or worse - and hwy 1 is just one of four.

Damage to the Trans Canada here is obvious, and there are numerous other similar washouts. Although this one is relatively small, it will be tough to repair due to the challenges of extreme terrain and severed supply routes behind it. Only access for assessment team is by air at this stage. Town of Hope remains cut off completely, despite being a major transport hub - 5 highways and 2 railways converge here. Food and medicines are being flown in to support 6000 residents and approx 2000 evacuees and stranded motorists.

canada-flood-1-23.jpg
 

DPS Driver

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Jul 18, 2014
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These one in one hundred year events seem to be happening more often. How is that?

It couldn't happen at a worse time of the year either with winter about to unload. This will take a long time to fix. This isn't just BC thing, this will have an effect on all of Canada.
 
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sly_karma

Green Bastard
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Absolutely. This is a natural disaster on the scale of a major hurricane, not in terms of huge area affected, but in economic damage. As covid has already exposed, our supply chains are so intricate and interwoven that even minor disruptions have knock on effects on the entire economy and population.

BC was already struggling with a serious shortage of workers, especially in the construction industry. Unemployment is essentially non existent. We have three infrastructure mega projects running in the province already, where will they find the additional heavy equipment needed, and the crews to run it? And how to move it to the inland end of the damaged sections? Get it from Alberta would be my guess, should be some machinery not needed for oilfield work.

With winter already arrived up in the mountains, I think most of that season will be spent on design and Geotechnical work, on the Coquihalla anyway. The river has altered course in at least two of the locations I've seen, so they can't just start dropping precast bridge deck sections back into repaired abutments. The southbound lane washout at Othello is barely 10 km from Hope so it's quite low elevation, will receive the least snow and cold of all the repair sites. They may be able to do something there over winter, like temp connections to the northbound lane to permit passage of construction traffic onward to other repair areas further up the road.
 
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sly_karma

Green Bastard
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Dec 12, 2005
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A note here for those considering a Canada trip this winter. If you fly into Calgary, Kamloops or Kelowna intending to visit a series of Interior and Rockies resorts, you'll experience the usual range of winter driving conditions. It's just the routes to the southwest corner of the province that are affected, and there will be at least one of those open by beginning of December (that route will be exceptionally crowded with big trucks on a road not intended for such volume though).

So a trip is certainly feasible. Don't let all this drama put you off, but a little adjustment of plans may be required.
 

Crystal

Sand skier extraordinaire
Moderator
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A note here for those considering a Canada trip this winter. If you fly into Calgary, Kamloops or Kelowna intending to visit a series of Interior and Rockies resorts, you'll experience the usual range of winter driving conditions. It's just the routes to the southwest corner of the province that are affected, and there will be at least one of those open by beginning of December (that route will be exceptionally crowded with big trucks on a road not intended for such volume though).

So a trip is certainly feasible. Don't let all this drama put you off, but a little adjustment of plans may be required.
and a lot of fat built into the travel days I would suggest.
 

sly_karma

Green Bastard
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Dec 12, 2005
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No more than the usual winter allowances, unless you try to tackle the routes across the coast range. No real need for that, better to leave it alone and stay out of the way of the truckies and other essential travelers. They have enough trouble on the roads as it is. Adding connecting flights to Calgary, Kelowna or Kamloops is cheap. Besides, @Crystal, your old favourite motel in Chilliwack is probably dealing with flood damage repairs anyway.
 
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sly_karma

Green Bastard
Ski Pass
Dec 12, 2005
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Penticton, BC
Slowly getting better. Highway 3 closures around Princeton have been lifted, cleanup crews working on the stretch east to Hedley. Hope is tenuously connected via highway 7 on the north bank of the Fraser, one lane alternating and essential traffic only at this stage. That provides relief for the people of Hope and those trapped there as all roads closed, but not for longer distance travel as there is still no route through the mountains.

Mudslide debris is being cleared on the Hope Princeton though, and as crews push their way further up into the mountains we will get updates on damage that has not yet been accessible. There are some very high angle slopes hanging over the road along that section up to Allison Pass, and three or four crossings of the fast running Skagit River.

Fingers remain crossed!
 

sly_karma

Green Bastard
Ski Pass
Dec 12, 2005
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They've done it! Well, sort of. The Hope Princeton is open, essential traffic only and congestion expected. Same for the route west from Hope to the lower mainland, the two lane hwy 7 on the north bank of the Fraser is the only option due to multiple washouts and flooding between Hope and Abbotsford. And it too is still single lane through the mudslide areas and essential traffic only. Likewise hwy 1 north from Hope into the Fraser Canyon is essential traffic only and so far open just to Boston Bar. This is still important as it provides egress and supplies for the First Nations communities in the canyon, and heavy equipment and materials access for repair of the damaged roads and rail lines further upstream.
 

sly_karma

Green Bastard
Ski Pass
Dec 12, 2005
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More progress. Hwy 99 open between Pemberton and Lillooet, and hwy 1 from Chilliwack to Hope, both with strict enforcement of essential travel only, as defined in the provincial emergency legislation. The latter is particularly impressive, given the outright washouts of the eastbound lanes. The crews will have built temporary roadways to cross traffic to the westbound carriageway in these areas.

Hwy 1 reopening is of limited use with the Abbotsford/Sumas Prairie area section still flooded, but the waters are receding there too, now that the Fraser levels have have dropped sufficiently to permit flood gate opening and assist the pump system. There is another rain system with up to 100 mm forecast for the next two days, much work being done on dike reinforcement.

Six atmospheric river events in 5 weeks! Most weather recording stations around the lower mainland have seen three times their normal rainfall for November, which is already the wettest month of the year in this region.
 

sly_karma

Green Bastard
Ski Pass
Dec 12, 2005
22,742
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Penticton, BC
The BC north coast was hit by a strong atmospheric river yesterday and its southern flank was expected to drop more rain on the south coast last night and today, as much as 80-100 mm. Could undo a lot of the progress made on flood recovery and road reopening.

Hwy 1 between Abbotsford and Chilliwack was expected to reopen today - provided the rebuilt/extended dikes hold.

Seems to be more fresh food in our supermarkets again, hard to say if this is California/Mexico stuff that has arrived by different route, or lower mainland greenhouse product that has crossed the tenuous mountain route. A fair bit came from Alberta distribution centres anyway, especially meat. Dairy is still hard to find but not impossible. Interior dairy farmers will have been told their quota is unlimited for the time being, although of course you can't just make more cows appear out of thin air. And the hay shortage from the droughty spring and summer hasn't gone away.
 

sly_karma

Green Bastard
Ski Pass
Dec 12, 2005
22,742
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Penticton, BC
Highway 1 is open again for general traffic as far east as Chilliwack. Much relief for citizens of that city, as well as Abbotsford and the surrounding communities. These have vast numbers of workers who commute into metro Vancouver, so the 11 days of highway closure have been a severe disruption. The highway is open for general traffic, albeit with a couple of interchanges closed and the flood waters remain very close to the roadway.

After Chilliwack, the road to Hope and the interior remains essential travel only. I spoke yesterday to an acquaintance who'd just come home across the Hope Princeton after an unexpectedly long stay in Vancouver. He reports that the damage is confined to one stretch of less than 10 km not too far out of Hope, no structures gone. Good news since this road is going to be the sole truck corridor for at least two months yet.

The minister for highways is telling the media they expect to have the Coq usable for trucks by January. When in January depends on weather of course. He confirmed 5 bridge spans destroyed and 30 other locations washed out or severely damaged. Once reopened, it will be a truck route only until repairs are more advanced. Fortunately the high elevation section of the route sustained only minor damage.
 

Chalkie

A Local
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Jul 1, 2002
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Vancouver, Canada
Highway 1 is open again for general traffic as far east as Chilliwack. Much relief for citizens of that city, as well as Abbotsford and the surrounding communities. These have vast numbers of workers who commute into metro Vancouver, so the 11 days of highway closure have been a severe disruption. The highway is open for general traffic, albeit with a couple of interchanges closed and the flood waters remain very close to the roadway.

After Chilliwack, the road to Hope and the interior remains essential travel only. I spoke yesterday to an acquaintance who'd just come home across the Hope Princeton after an unexpectedly long stay in Vancouver. He reports that the damage is confined to one stretch of less than 10 km not too far out of Hope, no structures gone. Good news since this road is going to be the sole truck corridor for at least two months yet.

The minister for highways is telling the media they expect to have the Coq usable for trucks by January. When in January depends on weather of course. He confirmed 5 bridge spans destroyed and 30 other locations washed out or severely damaged. Once reopened, it will be a truck route only until repairs are more advanced. Fortunately the high elevation section of the route sustained only minor damage.

That is good to hear, and it makes sense that essential transport should be prioritised.
 

main street

Doing what I want.
Ski Pass
Jul 11, 2006
74,296
17,943
3,000
Kelowna, BC
I can laugh now but that one was a real headache for us South Okanaganites. Almost two weeks of the highway to Kelowna cut off. A lot of disruptions to supplies in shops and of course building materials.

Yes,.... I remember when a wholesale part of that cliff gave way.

It's not uncommon actually.

 

sly_karma

Green Bastard
Ski Pass
Dec 12, 2005
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Penticton, BC
We are so vulnerable to road problems in BC because the mountains are gnarly and roads are so expensive to build there. The only official detour around that rock slide added 4 hours to the normally 1 hour drive from Kelowna to Penticton. Logging road route is available in good weather but still 2 hours and a lot of climbing/descending on gravel roads in no way engineered for passenger vehicle traffic.
 
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