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Police step up enforcement on Highway 3, drivers urged to slow down

Drive according to the road and weather conditions, police ask

RCMP have stepped up patrols on the only commercial-vehicle highway linking the Lower Mainland with the rest of Canada.

After severe flooding and mudslides left both the Coquihalla Highway between Hope and Merritt and Highway 1 through the Fraser Canyon impassible, highways 3 and 5A have become the most reliable routes for the transportation of goods to and from the Interior.

But, winter conditions, route unfamiliarity and a desire to get goods to their destination as quickly as possible have resulted in dangerous incidents and fatal collisions.

The Ministry of Transportation said Tuesday a commercial transport truck was towed after being caught travelling at 96 km/h in a 50 km/h zone on Highway 3 on Monday.

BC Highway Patrol spokesman Cpl. Mike Halskov says it's vital these highway links remain open. Police are patrolling Highway 3 focusing on speed, aggressive driving and driver fatigue, especially commercial drivers.

"We are urging all drivers, and especially commercial drivers that are unfamiliar with Highway 3 to heed the advisory speed limits on this mountainous route, drive according to the road and weather conditions, carry or use chains when required, and be vigilant to changing weather conditions which can affect the road surface," says Halskov.

"And, above all, above all, and I can't stress this enough, please do not sacrifice safety for speed.

"Everyone understands and anticipate that deliveries are going to be late for one reason or another. And, if everyone exercises caution on this vital link, it is going to prevent collisions and highway closures that can result."

One particularly scary incident caught on camera involved a semi passing another transport truck on a double solid line while entering a curve on Highway 5A.

"We are doing more active patrols, especially in light of some recent incidents that have been reported on," says Halskov.

"That was truly dangerous and unprofessional that could have led to something far, far, far worse."

RCMP says they are investigating the incident.

After multiple closures due to serious and fatal collisions last week, Halskov says things seem to be settling down along Highway 3. He says they can't stress enough the importance of keeping the route open for everyone's benefit.

"What we can't have is what we had a couple of weeks ago with a 16-hour highway closure due to a fatal crash."

Halskov also says passenger vehicle operators are being asked to ensure their headlights are turned on at all times which also illuminates their taillights, making them easier to see.