Questions raised about highway maintenance after Coquihalla crash


In the aftermath of Sunday's multi-vehicle pile-up on the Coquihalla Highway - the Ministry of Transportation maintains that maintenance levels on the highway are at a high level.

Regional Deputy Director for the South Coast Region, Janelle Erwin, tells AM 1150 News the Coquihalla is maintained at a 'Class-A Winter Level' - the highest in the province, and leading up to Sunday's storm, they did everything available to warn the public and keep the highway open. 

"We had a weather advisory in place, we had our severe condition lights turned on, we had what's called the 'snowshed protocol' where our maintenance contractors were calling out all their available folks and equipment to make sure the road is maintained - in fact, through the crash site we actually had two plows through there about 20 minutes before the crash occurred, so in terms of maintenance I do believe our contractors are doing a good job to ensure the road is maintained," she says.   

Erwin says they saw almost 30 cms of snow at the Coquihalla summit on Sunday - a significant amount in late February. 

29 people were hospitalized after the crash involving six vehicles - 136 people who were unhurt were transported to a high school in Hope.

The exact cause is still being investigated.