Highway 97C, which is 220 km (140 mi) in total length, was constructed as the third phase of the Coquihalla Highway Project. Construction was completed in 1990, with the cost totalling to $225 million in 1987 dollars ($373 million inflation adjusted 2009 dollars). The route begins near Trepanier, at a location on Highway 97 known as Drought Hill. The section of Highway 97C east of Merritt is mostly freeway, with a speed limit of 110 km/h (68 mph) and between 4 and 6 lanes, and has very few exits along its route. Its highest altitude is the Pennask Summit (1728 m, 5760 ft, above sea level). Highway 97C travels on this freeway 82 km (51 mi) northwest to Aspen Grove, where it converges with Highway 5A. This stretch is a four-lane rural arterial highway. Highways 97C and 5A share the 28 km (17 mi) long route between Aspen Grove and Lower Nicola, where Highway 5A diverges immediately east and Highway 8 begins. 97C was originally intended to have a freeway connection with the Coquihalla Highway 5, but this was protested by local residents in Merritt on the grounds that it would take tourists away from the area, and so the freeway remains incomplete to this day. In July 2007, the shared roadway of Highway 5A and 97C was upgraded to a 2 lane road in each direction, the last segment required to enable 2 lanes in each direction when traveling between Vancouver and Kelowna.
North of the Highway 8 junction, Highway 97C goes north for 42 km (26 mi) to Logan Lake, then northwest for 57 km (35 mi) to Ashcroft on the Canadian National Railway. Highway 97C then travels 6 km (4 mi) west from Ashcroft to where it converges with Highway 1, which takes Highway 97C north for its final 5 km (3 mi) to its end at Highway 97 in Cache Creek.
For a graph detailing the distance and altitude of the highway between Highway 5A and Highway 97 (via Pennask Summit), follow this link.
Read more about this topic: British Columbia Highway 97C
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