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Major construction gets underway on Kicking Horse Canyon Phase 4

Major construction gets underway on Kicking Horse Canyon Phase 4

April 8, 2021 at 8:56 am  BC, News, Politics

Major construction is starting next week on the Kicking Horse Canyon Project – Phase 4, which will transform the most technically challenging section of Highway 1 in the province, making it safer and more efficient for people to travel on.

“Safe and efficient roadways are important to build strong communities and to support tourism and local economies,” said Ken Hardie, MP for Fleetwood–Port Kells, on behalf of Catherine McKenna, federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “The final phase of the Kicking Horse Canyon four-laning project near Golden will improve users’ safety, make this stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway more reliable, protect wildlife and also create good jobs for local workers. Canada’s infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country and builds cleaner, more inclusive communities.”

The project includes realigning and widening the final 4.8 kilometres of the Trans-Canada Highway through the canyon. Crews will realign 13 curves and widen the highway to four lanes with centre median barrier to divide the opposing lanes of traffic, which will significantly boost safety for travellers. As well, the highway shoulders will be widened to ministry standards to accommodate cyclists.

“We’re excited to be moving forward with major improvements on the Trans-Canada Highway to the Alberta border to make travel better and safer for people who live and work in the region,” said Rob Fleming, B.C.’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “This is the fourth and final phase of the Kicking Horse Canyon, and we know this work will significantly upgrade this challenging section of Highway 1, especially for all of the commercial truck drivers who travel this corridor regularly. Once the work is completed, everyone who travels this route will benefit.”

Rockfall and avalanche hazards will be mitigated with bridges, rock catchment ditches and other measures to improve safety and reliability for people travelling along the corridor. Wildlife exclusion fencing and wildlife passage opportunities will help prevent collisions with wildlife.

“This is a very exciting project for our community,” said Ron Oszust, mayor of Golden. “Although we recognize that there will be some challenges along the way over the next few years, we will also see opportunities. Traffic reroutes will bring new travellers into our downtown core and most importantly, once completed, there will be a much safer and more accessible route into the community of Golden and the Province of B.C. for our residents and visitors.”

This stretch of highway carries more than 12,000 vehicles daily during the summer. Up to 30% of the traffic consists of commercial vehicles moving millions of dollars in goods to serve interprovincial and international trade.

Three phases of work have already transformed 21 kilometres of narrow, winding two-lane highway into a modern four-lane, 100 km/h standard. Construction of this fourth and final phase to complete the remaining – and most challenging – 4.8 kilometres is expected to be substantially complete in winter 2023-24.

Travellers are reminded that there will be a one-month extended closure of the Trans-Canada Highway from April 12 to May 14, 2021. Additionally, for the last half of May, there will be 24-hour closures on weekdays, except for the Victoria Day holiday. During these periods, through traffic on Highway 1 between Golden to Castle Junction will be routed via Highways 93S and 95, which will add up to 1.5 hours of travel time. Roadside signage will provide advance notification of the closure and alternative routes will also have signage.

This extended closure is intended to minimize travel disruptions during the peak summer and winter travel periods by having as much work as possible done at night and other off-peak periods.

During the extended closures, a “commuter pass system” will allow local commuters and essential local traffic to be escorted through the construction zone during two brief peak-period windows. Similar escorts will be provided for school buses so students will have uninterrupted access to school. Emergency vehicles in response mode will be provided escorted passage on short notice. Details of the pass system are available on the project website.

The ministry appreciates people’s patience during the work. Drivers are reminded to obey construction zone speed limits and the directions of traffic personnel. Updates on delays will be available online at: http://DriveBC.ca

The $601-million project is cost shared, with the Government of Canada contributing up to $215 million and the B.C. government providing the remaining $386 million.

This project is being delivered under the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) and is designed to maximize opportunities to develop and grow the skilled labour workforce in the province. The CBA prioritizes hiring and re-hiring local workers, Indigenous peoples, women, people with disabilities and members of other under-represented groups who are qualified to do the work in a safe, respectful environment. It increases opportunities for apprentices to work on site and gain the experience they need to move toward completing their certification.

Provincial construction sites have protocols and policies in place following the requirements of the provincial health officer to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. These measures include physical distancing and other protocols to ensure worker and public safety.

Learn More:

For more information on this project, visit: www.kickinghorsecanyon.ca

For job opportunities for the Kicking Horse Canyon project, visit: https://www.bcib.ca/

For more information on federal infrastructure funding, visit: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca

For the most up-to-date highway travel information, check @DriveBC on Twitter or visit: http://DriveBC.ca

For travel restrictions and precautions due to COVID-19, visit:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/driving-and-cycling/traveller-information/travel-affected-by-covid-19

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