The section, with 38 overpasses, a 300 m snow shed and many other avalanche control installations, a steelhead fishery diversion and highway park facilities, was built on an accelerated schedule and opened in May 1986 amid controversy. A public inquiry found that the highway cost two-thirds more than the budgeted $250 million. The Coquihalla section is the only highway in BC with a toll. The 80 km highway between Merritt and Kamloops, with 8 bridges and 6 underpasses, opened in Sept 1987, and a 108 km section from Merritt to Kelowna opened in Oct 1990.
The Coquihalla's wildlife control program is unique in BC. Fences, gates, underpasses and even an overpass, keep migrating deer, moose and other wildlife away from traffic.