The portion of the Coquihalla Highway between Merritt and Hope was closed on Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for avalanche control.

The Ministry of Transportation sent crews to trigger avalanches and decrease the amount of snow at several locations along the highway.

According to Blair Leckstrom, minister of transportation and infrastructure, B.C. has some of the most avalanche-susceptible highways in the nation.

“This includes mountain passes like the Coquihalla, where our teams prepare for avalanches, whiteouts and severe winter weather,” he said. “Moving people safely on our highways is our number one priority, and we do a good job keeping our highways open, despite the curveballs Mother Nature throws at us.”

The snow pack at the ministry’s high-level weather station was at 150 per cent of normal for this time of the year.

The recent warm weather that followed the cold spell in mid-January increased the avalanche danger. An additional hazard was created when snow blew onto avalanche paths.

Louise Yako, CEO of the B.C. Trucking Association, said the closures are a regular occurrence for this time of year.

“Our members appreciate the work the province does to keep our highways open during avalanche season,” he said.

“We know that it is a necessity for the safety of motorists during the control work, and that their work ensures our transportation network remains safe and efficient.”

Several areas of the Coquihalla Highway have “Do-Not-Stop” signs.

From a helicopter, crews managed to set explosives called ‘Daisy Bells’ at high-risk points. The Daisy Bell is is a gas-powered device that detonates on the snow’s surface to trigger an avalanche.

Once the snow has collected at the bottom of the banks, trucks with shovels pick it up and dump it in safe locations.

The excessive snowfall over the last several weeks has caused major delays for many drivers.

Avalanche season typically runs from November until April.