British Columbia provincial highway 5

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British Columbia provincial highway 5, known locally as the Southern Yellowhead Highway, is a north-south route in the southern part of the province. It is a part of the Trans-Canada Highway system, connecting the southern Trans-Canada route, Highway 1, with Highway 16 to the north, essentially providing the shortest land connection between Vancouver and Edmonton, Alberta. It is 524 km in total length.

The current Highway 5 is not the first highway to have this designation. Between 1941 and 1953, the section of present-day Highways 97 and 97A between Kaleden, just north of Osoyoos, and Salmon Arm was numbered 5. In 1953, the '5' designation was moved to the route designated today as Highway 5A to the south of Kamloops, and its current route north of Kamloops. In 1986, Highway 5 was re-routed to its present alignment south of Kamloops.

Highway 5 south of Kamloops is known locally as the Coquihalla Highway, and is a 186 km-long freeway, varying between four and six lanes enroute. The route that the Coquihalla follows through the Cascade Mountains is approximately the same route traced out by the former Kettle Valley Railway, which existed on this route between 1912 and 1958. The Coquihalla is regularly closed in the winter due to heavy accumulations of snow on the route. It is the only highway in British Columbia to have tolls. The toll for a typical passenger vehicle on the highway is C$10. The Coquihalla segment of Highway 5 between Kamloops and Hope is not considered part of the Yellowhead route, although it is still signed as such.

In 2003, Premier Gordon Campbell announced that his Liberal government was going to turn over the operation and maintenance of the Coquihalla, as well as the toll revenue, to a private operator. The public and numerous businesses in the interior of British Columbia were strongly opposed to this plan, so the provincial government shelved it three months after its initial announcement.

Route details

Highway 5 begins in the south at its junction with Highway 3 at an uninhabited location known as Othello, 7 km east of Hope. The exit numbers on the Coquihalla are a continuation of those on Highway 1 west of Hope. 35 km north of Othello, after passing through five interchanges, Highway 5 reaches the Great Bear Snowshed, which is a landmark on the route. 13 km north of the snowshed, after passing through another interchange, Highway 5 reaches the tollbooth. 61 km and five interchanges later, the Coquihalla enters the city of Merritt at its south junction with Highways 5A and 97C. Highway 5 then goes 4 km through the eastern area of Merritt before reaching its northern junction with Highway 5A. The Coquihalla has three more interchanges in its remaining 72 km between Merritt and its end at a junction with highways Highway 1 and 97 within the Afton area of Kamloops. Highway 5 continues east for 7 km triplexed with Highways 1 and 97 through Kamloops.

After separating from Highways 1 and 97, Highway 5 proceeds north for 5 km out of Kamloops, becoming a two-lane highway upon its exit from the city. Highway 5 follows the North Thompson river north from Kamloops for 93 km, along a parallel course with a branch of the Canadian National Railway, to a junction with Highway 24 at Little Fort. 30 km north of Little Fort, while continuing to follow the North Thompson and the CN Railway, Highway 5 reaches the community of Clearwater. It is another 107 km northeast, going through Vavenby enroute, to the community of Blue River, and then Highway 5 travels 109 more km north through the Columbia Mountains, passing by the community of Valemount on its way to its northern terminus at TÍte Jaune Cache, where it meets Highway 16.

Flag of British Columbia Provincial Highways of British Columbia British Columbia highway marker
1 1A 2 3 3A 3B 4 4A 5 5A 6 7
7A 7B 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
17A 18 19 19A 20 21 22 22A 23 24 26 27
28 29 31 31A 33 35 37 37A 39 41 43 49
52 77 91 91A 93 95 95A 97 97A 97B 97C 99
99A 101 395  
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