Travelling along B.C.’s highways during summer can be grinding. This weekend, though, may prove exceptionally tough.
The B.C. Day long weekend is considered the peak of summer travel. That alone creates plenty of traffic, but factor in pent-up demand for travel after two years of COVID-19 restrictions plus highway construction and motorists should be prepared for longer-than-normal driving times.
In fact, the provincial government is reminding those with travel plans to be prepared and use extra caution during their trips.
“Travelers are encouraged to stay safe on the road by planning ahead, using extra caution and preparing for higher than normal traffic volumes,” the Ministry of Transportation said.
The ministry says the Trans-Canada Highway in the Southern Interior is currently undergoing several improvements as part of its Kamloops to Alberta Four-Laning Program.
“We’re doing everything we can to minimize the impact this work will have on travel times along the corridor, but the reality is that delays (and some detours) are inevitable,” the ministry says on its webpage about the improvements.
The ministry says the ongoing Kicking Horse Canyon project will be fully open for the B.C. Day long weekend, meaning no traffic stoppages there.
The ministry also has a webpage dedicated to travel advisories along the Trans-Canada Highway between Kamloops and Alberta.
For the Coquihalla, the ministry says motorists should plan ahead and expect high traffic volumes and delays due to ongoing repairs.
“Drivers can expect delays on Coquihalla Highway 5 as portions of the highway are one lane in each direction, due to damage from the November 2021 atmospheric river and ongoing reconstruction work,” said the ministry.
“The heaviest traffic volumes on the Coquihalla are anticipated from noon until 8 p.m., daily.”
The ministry says motorists should consider using Highway 3 as an alternative route between the Interior and the Lower Mainland, or avoid peak times on the Coquihalla.
However, on Highway 3, emergency repairs are being made to a bridge around 37 kilometres east of Hope. The repairs are expected to take at least seven days, requiring single-lane alternating traffic.
ICBC is also offering advice for drivers for the upcoming busy weekend.
“Look for motorcycles, be patient with R.V. drivers, tow trailers and boat trailer drivers, do a pre-trip check and plan ahead for out-of-town drinks,” ICBC said.
The insurance company warns most car crashes take place on the Friday of the long weekend, and that if drivers do get caught in heavy traffic, to not rush and instead, take it slow.
If your plans include Vancouver Island, BC Ferries issued an advisory earlier this week, stating “this will be a busy weekend for travel starting Thursday, July 28, through Monday, August 1. We strongly recommend you book in advance to avoid sailing waits.”
“If you are planning to travel without a booking, arrive at the terminal as early as possible and be prepared for sailing waits and hot weather conditions,” BC Ferries added.
To view BC Ferries’ travel advisory, visit its website.