British Columbia Highway 5

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Highway 5 shield

Highway 5
Southern Yellowhead Highway
Coquihalla Highway
Route information
Length: 543.33 km[1] (337.61 mi)
Coquihalla Highway: 185.55 km (115.30 mi)
Existed: 1941 – present
Major junctions
South end: BC 1 near Hope
  BC 3 near Hope
BC 5A / BC 8 / BC 97C in Merritt
BC 1 / BC 97 in Kamloops
BC 5A in Kamloops
BC 24 in Little Fort
North end: BC 16 near Tête Jaune Cache
Districts: Hope, Barriere, Clearwater
Major cities: Merritt, Kamloops
Villages: Valemount
Highway system

British Columbia provincial highways

BC 4 BC 5A

Highway 5 is a 524 km (326 mi) north-south route in southern British Columbia, Canada. Highway 5 connects the southern Trans-Canada route (Highway 1) with the northern Yellowhead route (Highway 16), providing the shortest land connection between Vancouver and Edmonton. A portion of Highway 5 south of Kamloops is also known as the Coquihalla Highway; the northern portion is known as the Southern Yellowhead Highway. The Coquihalla section was a toll road until 2008.

A plaque commemorating the opening of the Coquihalla Highway in Hope, British Columbia.

The current Highway 5 is not the first highway in B.C. to have this designation. From 1941 to 1953, the section of present-day Highway 97 and Highway 97A, between Kaleden, just north of Osoyoos, and Salmon Arm, was formerly Highway 5. In 1953, the '5' designation was moved to designate Highway 5A, south of Kamloops, to north of Kamloops. In 1986, Highway 5 was re-routed between Hope and Merritt. The re-routed section of highway between Merritt and Kamloops was completed in 1987. The total cost for the highway between Hope and Merritt was approximately $848 million.[2]

South of Kamloops, Highway 5 is known as the Coquihalla Highway (colloquially "the Coq"; pronounced "coke"), 186 km (116 mi) of freeway, varying between four and six lanes with a posted speed limit of 120 km/h (75 mph). The Coquihalla approximately traces through the Cascade Mountains the route of the former Kettle Valley Railway, which existed between 1912 and 1958. It is so-named because near Hope, it generally follows the Coquihalla River, for about 60 km (37 mi), and uses the Coquihalla Pass.

In 2003, Premier Gordon Campbell announced the Liberal government would turn over toll revenue to a private operator, along with responsibility for operation, and maintenance of "the Coq". In response to strong opposition from the public, and numerous businesses, in the Interior of British Columbia, the provincial government shelved the move three months later.

On September 26, 2008, the provincial government permanently lifted the Coquihalla tolls, effective 1:00 pm that day.[2][3] Subsequently, the toll station and signs were dismantled.[4]

Effective July 2, 2014, Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure increased the speed limit of Coquihalla Highway from 110 km/h (68 mph) to 120 km/h (75 mph) after conducting engineering assessment and province-wide speed review.[5]

Although the Yellowhead Highway system is considered part of the Trans-Canada Highway network, the Highway 5 segment is not marked as such. Highway 5 is, however, designated as a core route of Canada's National Highway System.

Route details[edit]

Great Bear snow shed, approaching from the north
Yellowhead Highway 5, southbound

Highway 5 begins south at the junction with Highway 3 at uninhabited "Othello", 7 km (4.3 mi) east of Hope (named after a nearby siding on the Kettle Valley Railway, which used many Shakespearean names). Exit numbers on the Coquihalla are a continuation of those on Highway 1 west of Hope. The speed limit on the Coquihalla Highway south of Merritt is 120 km/h (75 mph). 35 km (22 mi) north of Othello, after passing through five interchanges, Highway 5 reaches the landmark Great Bear snow shed. The location of the former toll booth is 13 km (8.1 mi) north of the snow shed, passing through another interchange and the 1,244 m (4,081 ft) Coquihalla Pass. Highway 5 was the only highway in British Columbia to have tolls; a typical passenger vehicle toll was C$10. Now free to drive, at the Coquihalla Lakes junction, the highway crosses from the Fraser Valley Regional District into the Thompson-Nicola Regional District. 61 km (38 mi) and five interchanges north of the former toll plaza, the Coquihalla enters the city of Merritt. There it joins Highway 5A and Highway 97C.

This diagram illustrates the wrong-way concurrency between Highways 5 and 97 through Kamloops. Example of road sign

Highway 5 travels 4 km (2.5 mi) through the eastern area of Merritt before reaching its northern junction with Highway 5A. From there, the Coquihalla has three more interchanges and one mountain pass – the Surrey Lake Summit – in the 72 km (45 mi) between Merritt and its end at a junction with Highways 1 and 97. Highway 5 continues east for 12 km (7.5 mi) concurrently with Highways 1 and 97, through Kamloops. This stretch of road, which carries 97 South and 5 North on the same lanes (and vice versa), is the only wrong-way concurrency in British Columbia.

After separating from Highways 1 and 97, Highway 5 proceeds north for approximately 19 km (12 mi), temporarily leaving Kamloops city limits as a four-lane highway, before re-entering the city at the Rayleigh community, then continuing north. It becomes a two-lane highway at Heffley Creek and the exit to Sun Peaks resorts, both of which indicate the final northern boundary of Kamloops.

Highway 5 follows the North Thompson River north from Heffley Creek for approximately 54 km (34 mi), along a parallel course with a branch of the Canadian National Railway, passing through Barriere, to a junction with Highway 24 at Little Fort. 30 km (19 mi) north of Little Fort, while continuing to follow the North Thompson and the CN Railway, Highway 5 then reaches the community of Clearwater. It proceeds northeast for another 107 km (66 mi), passing Vavenby and Avola en route, to the community of Blue River; then 109 km (68 mi) further north through the Columbia Mountains, it crosses into the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George, passing by the community of Valemount to its northern terminus at Tête Jaune Cache, where it meets Highway 16.

Exit list[edit]

From south to north, the following intersections are observed along Highway 5:[6][7]

Regional district Location km[1] mi Exit[8] Destinations Notes
Freeway and exit numbers continues along BC 1 west (Trans-Canada Highway) – Vancouver
Fraser Valley Hope 0.00 0.00 170 BC 1 east (Water Avenue) – Cache Creek, Kamloops, Prince George Hope Interchange
No westbound exit
West end of BC 3 concurrency
Southern terminus
0.99 0.62 171 To BC 1 east (3rd Avenue) Westbound exit only
3.08 1.91 173 Old Hope-Princeton Way Thacker Creek Interchange
No westbound entrance
6.67 4.14 177 BC 3 east (Crowsnest Highway) – Princeton, Penticton, Osoyoos Othello Interchange
East end of BC 3 concurrency
South end of Coquihalla Highway
7.39 4.59 Nicolum Bridge across Nicolum River
12.78 7.94 Peers Creek Bridge across Coquihalla River
13.00 8.08 183 Othello Road Peers Creek Interchange
21.75 13.51 Jessica Bridge across Coquihalla River
22.02 13.68 192 Sowaqua Creek Road Jessica Interchange
25.32 15.73 Carolin Bridge across Coquihalla River
25.77 16.01 195 Carolin Mines Road Carolin Interchange
27.54 17.11 Ladner Creek Bridge
29.68 18.44 200 Shylock Road (U-turn route only) Shylock Interchange
Southbound exit and northbound entrance.
31.19 19.38 202 Portia, Old Coquihalla Road Portia Interchange
No southbound exit.
42.21 26.23 Great Bear Snowshed
45.53 28.29 217 Zopkios rest area Zopkios Interchange
48.93 30.40 Coquihalla Pass – 1,244 m (4,081 ft)
51.35 31.91 221 Falls Lake Road Falls Lake Interchange
↑ / ↓ 52.22 32.45 Dry Gulch Bridge
Thompson-Nicola 58.11 36.11 228 Coquihalla Lakes Road – Britton Creek Rest Area Coquihalla Lakes Interchange
61.09 37.96 231 Mine Creek Road (U-turn route only) Mine Creek Interchange
Southbound exit and northbound entrance.
61.2 38.0 238 Juliet Creek Road – Coldwater River Provincial Park Juliet Interchange
79.69 49.52 250 Larson Hill Larson Hill Interchange
86.46 53.72 256 Coldwater Road Kingsvale Interchange
106.32 66.06 276 Comstock Road Comstock Road Interchange
Merritt 115.99 72.07 286 BC 5A south / BC 8 west (Nicola Avenue) / BC 97C – Princeton, Kelowna, Spences Bridge, Logan Lake Coldwater Interchange
118.52 73.64 Nicola River Bridge across Nicola River
119.96 74.54 290 BC 5A north / Voght Street – Quilchena, Kamloops Nicola Interchange
145.31 90.29 315 Helmer Road Helmer Road Interchange
152.60 94.82 Surrey Lake Summit – 1,444 m (4,738 ft)
167.11 103.84 336 BC 97D south / Lac Le Jeune Road – Logan Lake Walloper Interchange
185.48 115.25 355 Inks Lake Road Inks Lake Road Interchange
Kamloops 192.22 119.44 362 BC 1 west – Cache Creek, Lytton, Hope, Vancouver
BC 97 north – Williams Lake, Quesnel, Prince George
To BC 99 south – Lillooet, Pemberton, Whistler
Afton Interchang
West end of TCH-1 (BC).svgBC-97.svg BC 1 / BC 97 concurrency
North end of Coquihalla Highway
196.45 122.07 366 Copperhead Drive, Lac le Jeune Road Copperhead Interchange
198.13 123.11 367 Pacific Way Pacific Way Interchange
198.92 123.60 368 BC 5A south / Hillside Way – Merritt Aberdeen Interchange
200.22 124.41 369 Columbia Street – Kamloops City Centre Sagebrush Interchange
Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
200.80 124.77 370 Summit Drive – Kamloops City Centre Springhill Interchange
Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
204.29 126.94 374 BC 1 east – Salmon Arm, Revelstoke, Banff, Calgary
BC 97 south – Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton
Yellowhead Interchange
East end of TCH-1 (BC).svgBC-97.svg BC 1 / BC 97 concurrency
South end of Southern Yellowhead Highway • BC 5 north exits freeway using Exit 374.
↑ / ↓ 204.74 127.22 Yellowhead Bridge over South Thompson River
Kamloops I.R. 206.09 128.06 Shuswap Road Signalized, at-grade intersection
208.16 129.34 Mount Paul Way Signalized, at-grade intersection
210.04 130.51 Halston Avenue, Paul Lake Road – Kamloops Airport Signalized, at-grade intersection
Kamloops 220.16 136.80 Puett Ranch Road
228.74 142.13 Old Highway 5, Tod Mountain Road – Sun Peaks
Barriere 267.64 166.30 Barriere Town Road, Lilley Road
270.06 167.81 Barriere North Thompson Bridge across North Thompson River
Little Fort 297.88 185.09 BC 24 west (Interlakes Highway) – 93 Mile House, 100 Mile House
324.78 201.81 Clearwater River Bridge across Clearwater River
Clearwater 327.04 203.21 Old North Thompson Highway Road, Clearwater Village Road
328.08 203.86 Clearwater Valley Road, Park Drive – Wells Gray Provincial Park Roundabout
Avola 395.43 245.71 Avola North Thompson Bridge across North Thompson River
423.68 263.26 Six Mile Bridge across North Thompson River
Blue River 434.43 269.94 Angus Horne Street, Shell Road
474.40 294.78 Lempriere Bridge across North Thompson River
477.34 296.61 Moombeam Bridge across North Thompson River
478.91 297.58 Gosnell Bridge across North Thompson River
Fraser-Fort George Valemount 523.94 325.56 5th Avenue, Pine Road
Tête Jaune Cache 543.13 337.49 Tête Jaune Bridge across Fraser River
543.33 337.61 YellowheadShield.jpg BC 16 west (Yellowhead Highway) – McBride, Prince George, Prince Rupert Tête Jaune Interchange
Northern terminus
Continues as YellowheadShield.jpg BC 16 east (Yellowhead Highway) – Mount Robson Provincial Park, Jasper, Edmonton
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


Kw'ikw'iya:la (Coquihalla) in the Halq'emeylem language of the Stó:lō, is a place name meaning "stingy container". It refers specifically to a fishing rock near the mouth of what is now known as the Coquihalla River. This rock is a good platform for spearing salmon. According to Stó:lō oral history, the skw'exweq (water babies, underwater people) who inhabit a pool close by the rock, would swim out and pull the salmon off the spears, allowing only certain fisherman to catch the salmon.[9]

The route is also often referred to simply as "The Coq" (pronounced "coke").

Popular culture[edit]



Route map: Bing / Google

KML is from Wikidata
  1. ^ a b Nicol, Matthew; Horel, Steve (July 2015). "Landmark Kilometre Inventory" (PDF). British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. Cypher Consulting. pp. 74–75, 136–166. 
  2. ^ a b Tolls taken off Coquihalla
  3. ^ Premier Announces End of Tolls
  4. ^ Coquihalla Tollbooths Demolished
  5. ^ Actions to improve safety on B.C.'s rural highways
  6. ^ Super, Natural British Columbia Road Map & Parks Guide (Map) (2010-2011 ed). Davenport Maps Ltd. in co-operation with Tourism British Columbia. § H-10, § J-9, § J-10, § K-9, and § L-9.
  7. ^ British Columbia Road Atlas (2007 ed.). Oshawa, ON: MapArt Publishing Corp. pp. 37, 46, 47, 57, 58, and 69.
  8. ^ "Highway Exits & Landmarks - Coquihalla Highway 5 Starts (Yellowhead Route)". British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  9. ^ B.C. Ministry of Transportation - Coquihalla Rates and Information