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B.C.’s Coquihalla highway closed by avalanche

Snow from an avalanche is seen near B.C.’s Coquihalla Highway in this March 23, 2012, photo.

BC Transport Ministry

A major highway linking British Columbia's south coast and southern Interior remains closed following an avalanche.

According to the Ministry of Transportation's website DriveBC, Coquihalla Highway 5 between Hope, B.C., and Merritt, should reopen some time between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Bob Gilowski of VSA Highway Maintenance Ltd., the company that services large portions of the highway, said it was too risky to reopen the highway Tuesday night.

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"It is dangerous enough that the ministry is not allowing a reopening until they can reassess and see what kind of control is required," he said.

The company reported the avalanche on Twitter late Tuesday afternoon.

Gilowski said the depth of the avalanche was between half a metre and a metre, but nobody was hurt in the naturally occurring slide. He also said more than 200 centimetres of snow has fallen on the Coquihalla's summit in just over a week.

Even after the road reopens, drivers can expect lots of accumulated snowfall on the highway and plenty of delays, he added.

The highway was closed for avalanche control for a four-hour period on Saturday morning.

Updates on highway and road conditions will be available on the DriveBC website.

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