The Sea-to-Sky Highway has fully re-opened after a fatal crash shut down the highway overnight.
The coroner has now confirmed two males died after a van and pickup truck smashed head-on at the Cheekye River Bridge around 7:30 p.m.
The collision shut down the highway for seven hours leading to a major traffic backup.
RCMP determined that the crash happened when a northbound pickup truck crossed the highway’s centre line and collided with a minivan heading in the other direction.
The van was carrying seven people.
The driver of the van and one of the passengers were pronounced dead at the scene.
The names of the deceased will not be released, police said.
One other passenger was taken to hospital and remained in critical condition on Wednesday, the Mounties said.
Meanwhile, four van passengers had injuries that ranged from minor to serious, but they weren’t considered to be life-threatening.
The pickup truck driver was also in hospital in serious condition.
Police reminded people to ensure they had “proper winter tires” and to be aware of changing weather and road conditions while driving.
With the highway closed, some people decided to turn back and stay in Squamish for the night.
“We have to turn down obviously some people later on because we just didn’t have any rooms available,” said Magali Bliss, manager of the Mountain Retreat Hotel.
She said several stranded commuters were nervous as multiple hotels in the area were completely booked.
“I know some people were posting on Facebook that they had a bed available, so you know, a lot of people went and tried to help as much as they could.”
The highway was re-opened around 2:30 a.m.
There is no word yet on the cause of the crash. The identities of the deceased have not been released at this time.
Meanwhile, BC’s Transportation Minister says that area is one where road improvements are constrained by the location.
“That’s a very difficult stretch of highway where you are dealing with a mountainside and it has been widened or has been cantilevered over the edge,” said Claire Trevena.
“Obviously our engineers are always looking at what can be done but there are – we are constrained in B.C. many times by our geography.”
She said people adjusting their driving to the conditions does help reduce safety risks.
~With files from Liza Yuzda and Jesse Ferreras
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