The speed limits on some multi-lane highways in B.C. are going up to 120 kilometres per hour, Transportation Minister Todd Stone announced on Wednesday morning in Kamloops.

The new speed limit will be in effect on:

  • Highway 5 (the Coquihalla) from Hope to Kamloops.
  • Highway 97C (the Connector) from Aspen Grove to Drought Hill Interchange, Peachland.
  • Highway 19 (the Island Highway) from Parksville to south of Willis Road, Campbell River.

Stone also announced that new variable speed zones that use sensors and radar technology to monitor road conditions will be tested on sections of the Trans-Canada between Revelstoke and Sicamous, the Coquihalla near the snowshed and parts of the Sea-to-Sky Highway

The speed limits on about 30 other sections of highway will also be adjusted.

Stone first announced he was reviewing speed limits on some rural highways last October.

Trucks not speeding up

The B.C. Trucking Association quickly issued a statement saying most trucking companies are unlikely to allow higher speeds among their fleets because of concerns about safety and fuel efficiency.

“When we surveyed our truck and motor coach members regarding the speed review, they indicated there was no appetite for higher speed limits,” said president Louise Yako.

“Carrying freight or passengers from one place to another quickly is important, but getting them there safely is more important. For the road transportation industry, efficiency is about results, factoring in the safety of drivers and others, what they’re carrying, and their equipment.”

"Trucking companies are also aware that operating at higher speeds means greater fuel consumption and more greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, Natural Resources Canada estimates that a heavy commercial vehicle travelling at 120 km/h can consume up to 39 per cent more fuel than if it were travelling at 90 km/h, with an accompanying increase in emissions."

Winter tires defined

Stone also announced changes to the Motor Vehicle Act to give police more power to enforce the requirement that slower vehicles keep right, and said the government will add signage and marking to increase compliance.

Changes to the Motor Vehicle Act will also clarify that mud and snow (M+S) and mountain/snowflake tires are defined as winter tires, and change the dates winter tires are required on high mountain passes to the new time frame of Oct. 1 to March 31, rather than Oct. 1 to April 30.

The government will also be testing two active wildlife detection systems on Highway 3 between Cranbrook and Sparwood to try to reduce collisions with wildlife.


Speed limit changes

Fraser Valley and Fraser Canyon:

Highway 1 Whatcom Road (Exit 95) to junction with Highway 3 (74 km)

  • New speed limit: 110 (in effect today)
  • Previous speed limit: 100

Highway 1 East of Lake of the Woods Rest Area to Boston Bar (55 km)

  • Current speed limit: 80, 90
  • New speed limit: 100

Highway 1 Boston Bar to Falls Creek (24 km)

  • Current speed limit: 90
  • New speed limit: 100

Highway 7 Vehicle pullout west of Haig Scale, Agassiz to Highway 1 junction, Hope (5 km)

  • Current speed limit: 90, 100
  • New speed limit: 100

Sea to Sky:

Highway 99 Eagle Ridge Interchange, Horseshoe Bay to south of the Stawamus River Bridge near Squamish (35 km)

  • Current speed limit: 80
  • New speed limit: 90

Highway 99 North of Depot Road, Squamish to Function Junction, Whistler (45 km)

  • Current speed limit: 80, 90
  • New speed limit: 100

Highway 99 South of Whistler Heliport Road to Pemberton Boundary (21 km)

  • Current speed limit: 80
  • New speed limit:90

Highway 99 East of Lillooet near the Pavilion Lime Plant to the Highway 97 junction (22 km)

  • Current speed limit: 90
  • New speed limit: 100

Vancouver Island:

Highway 1 Three 80 km/h sections between Bench Road, Cowichan Bay and Beck Road, north of the Nanaimo Airport (totalling 10 km)

  • Current speed limit: 80, 90
  • New speed limit: 90

Highway 19 Parksville to south of Willis Road, Campbell River (114 km)

  • Current speed limit: 110
  • New speed limit: 120

Highway 19 Duncan Bay Road to Menzies Road, Campbell River (4 km)

  • Current speed limit: 80
  • New speed limit: 90

Highway 19 Campbell River to Sullivan Road, Sayward (44 km)

  • Current speed limit: 90
  • New speed limit: 100

Highway 19 North of Campbell Way, Port McNeill to Douglas Street, Port Hardy (35 km)

  • Current speed limit: 80, 90
  • New speed limit: 100

Southern Interior:

Highway 1 Six Mile Rest Area near Tobiano to Savona (12 km)

  • Current speed limit: 90
  • New speed limit: 100

Highway 1 Chase to Hilltop Road, East of Sorrento (25 km, excluding 60 km/h section through Sorrento)

  • Current speed limit: 90
  • New speed limit: 100

Highway 1 Canoe (near Salmon Arm) to Highway 23 South, Revelstoke (58 km, excluding 60 km/h section through Sicamous)

  • Current speed limit: 90, 100
  • New speed limit: 100

Highway 1 Highway 23 North, Revelstoke to Anderson Road, Golden (101 km excluding parks)

  • Current speed limit: 90
  • New speed limit: 100

Highway 3 Start of Highway 3 (Exit 170) to junction with Highway 5 Coquihalla (7 km)

  • Current speed limit: 100
  • New speed limit: 110

Highway 3 Sunshine Valley to Manning Park East Boundary (33 km)

  • Current speed limit: 80, 90
  • New speed limit: 100

Highway 3 Sunday Summit to Whipsaw Creek, west of Princeton (22 km)

  • Current speed limit: 80
  • New speed limit: 90

Highway 5 Hope (Exit 177) to Othello Road (4 km)

  • Previous speed limit: 100
  • New speed limit: 110 (in effect today)

Highway 5 Othello Road, near Hope to Highway 1 junction, near Kamloops (200 km)

  • Previous speed limit: 110
  • New speed limit: 120 (in effect today)

Highway 5 Heffley to Little Fort (67 km, excluding 60 km/h section through Barriere)

  • Current speed limit: 90
  • New speed limit: 100

Highway 5A Old Hedley Road, north of Princeton to Highway 97C junction (36 km, excluding 70 km/h section through Aspen Grove)

  • Current speed limit: 80
  • New speed limit: 90

Highway 6 New Denver to Purdy Road, north of Hills (15 km, excluding 70 km/h section through Hills)

  • Current speed limit: 80
  • New speed limit: 90

Highway 6 Purdy Road, Hills to Upper Brouse Road, Nakusp (22 km)

  • Current speed limit: 90
  • New speed limit: 100

Highway 33 South of Gallagher Road to McCulloch Road (32 km)

  • Current speed limit: 90
  • New speed limit: 100

Highway 33 North of Highway 3 junction, Rock Creek to Westbridge (12 km)

  • Current speed limit: 90
  • New speed limit: 100

Highway 97 North of Willow Drive, 70 Mile House to BCR Overpass, 100 Mile House (37 km)

  • Current speed limit: 100
  • New speed limit: 110

Highway 97 Gatzke Road, north of Oyama to College Way, south of Vernon (16 km)

  • Current speed limit: 90
  • New speed limit: 100 – Pending completion of engineering assessment to determine if median barriers are required before implementation of the new speed limit.

Highway 97 Highway 97A junction near Swan Lake to Westside Road (6 km)

  • Current speed limit: 80
  • New speed limit: 90

Highway 97A north of Smith Drive, Armstrong to Highway 97B junction, Enderby (18 km excluding 50 km/h section through Enderby)

  • Current speed limit: 90
  • New speed limit: 100

Highway 97A Highway 97B junction, near Grindrod to Sicamous (33 km, excluding 50 km/h section through Grindrod)

  • Current speed limit: 80
  • New speed limit: 90

Highway 97C Merritt to Aspen Grove (22 km)

  • Current speed limit: 100
  • New speed limit: 110

Highway 97C Aspen Grove to Drought Hill Interchange, Peachland (78 km)

  • Previous speed limit:110
  • New speed limit:120 (in effect today)