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UPDATE: Coquihalla reopens after 2nd overnight closure this week

(UPDATE: Feb. 29 @ 12:05 pm) - The Coquihalla Highway (Hwy 5) has reopened.

The highway shut down southbound around 2:40 pm on Wednesday, with the northbound lanes following suit overnight.

It's the second full overnight closure of the major route, as it was also shut down due to significant winter weather between Monday and Tuesday.

While a winter storm watch remains in place for Hwy 5, it's expected to be lifted this afternoon and it appears as though the worst of this week's weather is now behind us.

However, motorists are being urged to drive with caution along the route and adjust speed to match the conditions.

(UPDATE: Feb. 29 @ 5:05 am): The Coquihalla Highway is now closed in both directions.

A vehicle incident between Othello Road and Exit 286 for Merritt is to blame, DriveBC said.

An assessment is in progress.

Drivers have been advised to detour via Hwy 1.

No detour is available on Hwy 8, however.

(UPDATE: Feb. 28 @ 2:50 pm) - The Coquihalla Highway (Hwy 5) is now closed southbound.

DriveBC confirmed the closure around 2:40 pm, saying that a vehicle incident between Merritt and Hope was the cause.

Hwy 5 has seen gridlocked traffic in several areas throughout the day, as snow continues to fall amid a winter storm warning.

An assessment is currently in progress and there's no estimated time for the route to reopen.

<who>Photo Credit: Els Armstrong/Coquihalla Road Reports on Facebook</who>Southbound traffic at a standstill just north of the Great Bear Snow Shed.

(UPDATE: Feb. 28 @ 1:25 pm) - Winter weather is proving to once again be problematic on the Coquihalla Highway (Hwy 5) between Merritt and Hope.

DriveBC webcams show overall poor driving conditions throughout the route and multiple spots where traffic is at a standstill.

Northbound traffic is heavily backed up around Box Canyon, leading into the Great Bear Snow Shed, while southbound traffic is seeing similar issues in the Coquihalla Lakes area, just east of the summit.

While DriveBC has not advised of any official closures, Hwy 5 remains under a winter storm warning until Thursday with significant snowfall expected to continue.

"Consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve," notes the Environment Canada weather alert.

<who>Photo Credit: DriveBC</who>Webcam shots from Box Canyon (L) and Coquihalla Lakes around 1:15 pm Wednesday.

(Original story: Feb. 28 @ 5:30 am) - Drivers have been warned to expect trying conditions on the Coquihalla Highway today.

A winter storm warning and travel advisory have been put in place between Hope and Merritt (Exits 183 and 286).

Between 25 and 40 centimetres of snow are expected, Environment Canada warned.

"Visibility will be suddenly reduced to near zero at times in heavy snow and blowing snow," the forecaster said.

DriveBC warned: “Expect limited visibility due to blowing snow and heavy accumulations.”

It added that delays are expected and urged drivers to “consider [a] lower elevation route.”

<who> Photo credit: DriveBC </who> The Britton Creek area at about 5:20 am Wednesday.

Commercial vehicles, meanwhile, have been warned to prepare for mandatory chain-ups at Box Canyon.

Environment Canada said drivers should consider postponing travel until the weather improves.

Hwy 1 between Eagle and Rogers Passes and Hwy 3 between Paulson Summit and Kootenay Pass are also under the storm warning.

"A strong Pacific frontal system is pushing through the BC interior," Environment Canada said.

"Snowfall associated with the system will continue into Thursday. In addition, gusty southwest winds will develop today and persist into Thursday.

"Snowfall amounts will vary along the routes due to elevation but totals of 25 to 40 cm can be expected. The heavy snowfall and gusty winds should begin to taper off later Thursday. However, accumulating snow may continue at Kootenay Pass into Thursday evening."

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