Driving the Coquihalla in snow is bad enough. But check out the speed limit
The Coquihalla wasn’t spared as wintry weather overtook southern Interior B.C. highways on Thursday.
Environment Canada had issued a special weather statement for the Coquihalla and other highways, warning that there would be an “abrupt transition back to winter conditions.”
But even with less-than-ideal conditions in place, it wasn’t enough to slow down speed limits on a route that saw a series of stunning crashes just last month.
WATCH: Global News cameraman Darrell Patton shows us what it’s like to drive with variable speed limits during snowy weather conditions.
Dashcam captured near the Coquihalla summit at around 3:30 p.m. on Thursday shows cars driving through conditions so snowy you can hardly see the lines on the road.
But then the cars pass a digital sign showing the speed limit at 120 km/h — the upper limit of what people should drive under “ideal conditions.”
Other parts of the video show digital signs displaying the speed limit marked down as low as 90 km/h.
WATCH: New concerns about Coquihalla Highway speeds
The highway’s variable speed limit system updates in increments of 15 minutes, Trent Folk, district operations manager with the Ministry of Tranpsortation and Infrastructure, told Global News.
Folk said there were no problems reported on the Coquihalla that day, and that the ministry ultimately decided to lower the displayed speed limit based on the conditions.
He noted that, whatever the speed limit is, that doesn’t take the responsibility away from drivers to slow down in less-than-ideal weather.
The speed limit on the Coquihalla has been a controversial matter since at least last month, when a crash involving six vehicles — including a Greyhound bus — north of Hope sent dozens of people to hospital.
Another crash saw a good Samaritan killed as he tried to help victims of a collision that happened close to Larson Hill.
In 2014, the speed limit on the Coquihalla from Hope to Kamloops was raised from 110 km/h to 120 km/h, with variations based on conditions after a Rural Highway Safety and Speed Review.
The provincial government of the time found that 85 per cent of vehicles were travelling the highway at speeds of up to 127 km/h.
They figured that raising the speed limit would bring it in line with actual travel speeds — that setting speed limits closer to the 85th percentile would “increase compliance and reduce speed differentials, thus reducing conflicts between vehicles.”
- With files from Paul Johnson
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