Highway 5 is a Template:Convert 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.
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.
South of Kamloops, Highway 5 is known as the Coquihalla Highway (colloquially "the Coq"; pronounced "coke"), Template:Convert of freeway, varying between four and six lanes with a posted speed limit of Template:Convert. 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 Template:Convert, 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.
Effective July 2, 2014, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure increased the speed limit of Coquihalla Highway from Template:Convert to Template:Convert after conducting an engineering assessment and province-wide speed review.
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.
Highway 5 begins south at the junction with Highway 3 at uninhabited "Othello", Template:Convert 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 Template:Convert. Template:Convert 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 Template:Convert north of the snow shed, passing through another interchange and the Template:Convert 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. Template:Convert and five interchanges north of the former toll plaza, the Coquihalla enters the city of Merritt. There it joins Highway 5A and Highway 97C.
Highway 5 travels Template:Convert 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 Template:Convert between Merritt and its end at a junction with Highways 1 and 97. Highway 5 continues east for Template:Convert 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 Template:Convert, 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 Template:Convert, along a parallel course with a branch of the Canadian National Railway, passing through Barriere, to a junction with Highway 24 at Little Fort. Template:Convert 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 Template:Convert, passing Vavenby and Avola en route to the community of Blue River; then Template:Convert 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. Template:Clear
From south to north, the following intersections are observed along Highway 5: Template:Jctinttop Template:Jctgap Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctgap Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctplace Template:Jctint Template:Jctplace Template:Jctint Template:Jctplace Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctplace Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctgap Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctplace Template:Jctbridge Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctint Template:Jctbridge Template:Jctint Template:Jctbridge Template:Jctint Template:Jctbridge Template:Jctbridge Template:Jctint Template:Jctbridge Template:Jctbridge Template:Jctbridge Template:Jctint Template:Jctbridge Template:Jctint Template:Jctbtm
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.
The route is also often referred to simply as "The Coq" (pronounced "coke").
- BC5 is the main highway serviced in Discovery Channel show, Highway Thru Hell.
- The song "Hurtin' Albertan" by country singer Corb Lund makes reference to the Coquihalla in the lyric "...there's good weather up on the Coke."
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