British Columbia Highway 97C
|Length:||220 km (140 mi)|
|Existed:||1990 – present|
|East end:||BC 97 north of Peachland|
| BC 5A near Aspen Grove
BC 5 / BC 8 in Merritt
BC 97D near Logan Lake
BC 1 in Ashcroft
|West end:||BC 1 / BC 97 in Cache Creek, BC|
Highway 97C is an east-west highway, forming part of an important link between the Lower Mainland and the Okanagan Valley around Kelowna, which is the third largest metropolitan area in the province. It bisects the Coquihalla Highway at Merritt. The expressway and freeway sections of the highway is known as Okanagan Connector or Coquihalla Connector.
Highway 97C is a relatively new route, commissioned on October 1, 1990, which is 220 km (140 mi) in total length, and was constructed as the third phase of the Coquihalla Highway Project. Construction was completed in 1990, with the cost totalling to $225 million in 1987 dollars ($373 million inflation adjusted 2009 dollars).
The route begins near Trepanier, at a location on Highway 97 known as Drought Hill. The section of Highway 97C east of Merritt is 4 to 6 lanes expressway with a speed limit of 110 km/h (68 mph) and the section east of Aspen Grove is freeway with a speed limit of 120 km/h (75 mph). Expressway and freeway sections have very few exits along its route. Its highest altitude is the Pennask Summit (1728 m, 5760 ft, above sea level). Highway 97C travels on this freeway 82 km (51 mi) northwest to Aspen Grove, where it converges with Highway 5A. This stretch is a four-lane rural arterial highway. Highways 97C and 5A share the 28 km (17 mi) long route between Aspen Grove and Lower Nicola, where Highway 5A diverges immediately east and Highway 8 begins. 97C was originally intended to have a freeway connection with the Coquihalla Highway 5 approximately 30 km south of Merritt, near Exit 256. Due to protest by local residents in Merritt on the grounds that it would take tourists away from the area, the project was postponed and the freeway remains incomplete to this day. In July 2007, the shared roadway of Highway 5A and 97C was upgraded to a 2-lane road in each direction, the last segment required to enable 2 lanes in each direction when travelling between Vancouver and Kelowna.
North of the Highway 8 junction, Highway 97C goes north for 42 km (26 mi) to Logan Lake, then northwest for 57 km (35 mi) to Ashcroft on the Canadian National Railway. Highway 97C then travels 6 km (4 mi) west from Ashcroft to where it converges with Highway 1, which takes Highway 97C north for its final 5 km (3 mi) to its end at Highway 97 in Cache Creek.
For a graph detailing the distance and altitude of the highway between Highway 5A and Highway 97 (via Pennask Summit), follow this link.
||This section contains a table that is missing kilometre posts for one or more junctions. Please help by .|
This table lists the exits on Route 97C from east to west. The entirety of this route is in the Regional District of Central Okanagan.
|District of Peachland||BC 97 (Okanagan Highway) – Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton, Osoyoos||Eastern terminus|
|Trepanier Road||Partial access (westbound exit, eastbound entrance)|
|Brenda Mine Road|
|Sunset Main Road|
|Loon Lake Road|
|Aspen Grove||BC 5A south – Princeton||At-grade|
|Continues as BC 5A to Merritt|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
- B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. "Frontier to Freeway - A Short Illustrated History of Roads in British Columbia" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-08-18.