February 10, 2017 9:37 am
Updated: February 11, 2017 2:01 am

Coquihalla Highway re-opens; drivers are still warned to use extreme caution

WATCH: A collective sigh of relief in the Okanagan today as the Coquihalla Highway finally reopened, after a long, cold night for hundreds of people who were forced to wait out the closure.

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UPDATE: The Coquihalla has once again been closed in both directions between Hope and Merritt.

 

READ MORE: Coquihalla Highway closed again with drivers stranded overnight

ORIGINAL STORY:

After being closed overnight and leaving hundreds of people stranded in their cars due freezing rain, the Coquihalla has been re-opened.

Drive BC said drivers are still to use extreme caution on the highway and stay below 80 kilometres an hour.

Highway 5 was closed in both directions between Hope and Merritt on Thursday due to extremely icy conditions, leaving some motorists stranded since early yesterday afternoon. It re-opened at 2 p.m. on Friday.

WATCH: Truck driver Marvin Shemilt talks with Global’s Jordan Armstrong about the conditions on the Coquihalla Highway

The Coquihalla was first briefly closed on Thursday then quickly reopened just before dinnertime. But just as drivers hit the road, the highway was shut down again, stranding drivers in the middle.

Now some are questioning why they were even let on the highway to begin with.

“It’s extremely frustrating, in particular because no one’s giving us any information at all,” said Janna Willison, who was stranded on the highway overnight with her family.

“We’re looking at Drive BC and it keeps on delaying the opening. It said 3 a.m., 6 a.m. and now apparently it’s 10 a.m. And that’s an extremely long time to be stuck in a vehicle, let alone with two kids and the whole family.”

The Coquihalla Highway isn’t the only problem route Friday morning.

Treacherous winter conditions forced the closure of all routes heading from the South Coast into the B.C. interior. However, motorists can now get from Hope to Princeton along Highway 3 but expect delays. Highway 99 south of Lillooet reopened around 11 a.m.

Current major road closures include:

B.C. South Coast and Interior region

  • Highway 1: Closed in both directions between Yale and Jackass Mountain due to avalanche hazard. No estimated time of opening;
  • Highway 1: Closed in both directions between Jackass Mountain summit to junction with Highway 12 because of avalanche hazard. No estimated time of re-opening;
  • Highway 5A: Closed in both directions 27 km north of Princeton due to avalanche control. Road is expected to be closed for 1 hour between 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

South-East B.C.

  • Highway 1: Closed in both directions at Glacier National Park between 10 p.m. on Thursday to 10 a.m. on Friday due to avalanche control.

For all highway closures and warnings, visit DriveBC online.

-With files from Jill Slattery and Kimberly Davidson

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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