Phase four of the Kicking Horse Canyon project will twin the winding stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway just east of Golden, B.C. (Photo Ministry of Transportation Photo)

‘Definitely Revelstoke will take a financial hit’: Highway 1 upgrades near Golden to begin this fall

The province said there will be no extended 24 hour closures during summer or winter

The province held an information session in Revelstoke last month about the upcoming highway expansion project east of Golden.

The fourth and most difficult phase of Kicking Horse Canyon Project is scheduled to begin this fall. Construction is expected to cost $601 million and estimated to be complete by the winter of 2023/24.

“This is an extremely complex project,” said Art McClean, operations manager from the Ministry of Transportation.

“We’re redesigning a 1950s highway.”

Map of the Kicking Horse Canyon project. (Province of B.C.)

When Phase 4 was first introduced in 2016, the price tag was $450 million.

The province said the 34 per cent price increase is due to additional engineering, design and geotechnical work, additional foundation supports for bridges and retaining calls, consultation with Indigenous communities and the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA).

Hiring under CBS includes provisions for hiring local workers, Indigenous Peoples, apprentices and women in trades. The application of CBA will cost $35 million, roughly six per cent of the project’s total budget.

READ MORE: Kicking Horse widening budget up $151 million as bidders invited

READ MORE: B.C. Highway 1 widening to Alberta demanded for decades

Phase 4 involves redesigning and expanding a 4.8 km section of highway, just outside Golden. Currently, the highway in this area is wedged next to crumbling cliffs and frequently susceptible to rockfall and avalanches. There are also multiple tight corners.

The province states Kicking Horse Canyon sees collision rates three times higher than the provincial average for similar two-lane highways.

The improvements include turning the two-lane highway into four lanes, straightening 13 sharp curves, adding a 2.5 metre shoulder, improving catchment for avalanches, as well as adding retaining walls and median barriers to reduce collisions.

The province is aiming to reduce collisions by 66 per cent and increase the posted speed limit from 80 km/h to 100 km/h.

Various types of closures are expected, such as delays of up to 20 minutes, scheduled closures less than two hours, overnight closures up to 10 hours and extended 24-hour closures.

The province said there will be no 24-hour closures during the summer or winter, only in April, May, September, October and November. No daytime closures are expected during summer months.

The extended 24-hour closures should be posted three months in advance on DriveBC. Traffic will be diverted to Highway 93 and Highway 95, adding an extra 100 kilometres to the drive from Calgary to Golden.

Revelstoke mayor Gary Sulz said he is concerned about the project’s impact on Revelstoke, in particular on tourism from Calgarians with the added drive time.

“Definitely Revelstoke will take a financial hit,” said Sulz.

He wonders if at the intersection of Highway 93 and 95, drivers will instead turn left and go to closer destinations such as Invermere or take the longer road and turn right to Golden and Revelstoke.

“Only time will tell which direction people will turn.”

McClean said the project will be difficult due to avalanche and rockfall hazards to road crew. He said the Rocky mountains are not a strong mountain range.

“They tend to fall down.”

Below the highway is the railway, McClean said the work cannot interrupt rail traffic. Nor the Kicking Horse River.

McClean continued that the contractor will be held to their proposed closure times.

“If they say two hours, it better be two hours,” he said.

If it’s longer, McClean said there could be financial penalties.

In 2003, the Kicking Horse Canyon Project was launched to improve 26 km of highway between Golden and Yoho National Park. The province said all four phases will cost $927 million, with the Government of Canada providing $350 million and B.C. covering the rest. Each summer, roughly 12,000 vehicles travel this section of highway daily.


 

@pointypeak701
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

ConstructionTransCanada

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kelowna mayor outlines city’s economic, public health response amid COVID-19

The city announced a hold on hiring; 90 positions remain vacant and 64 have been laid off

New Kelowna business committed to growing B.C. beverage industry

Liquid Kudos connects BC beverage producers with new markets

Vernon, Kelowna denturists hit hard amid COVID-19

Okanagan denture clinics wonders if they’ll ever be able sustain the sting of pandemic

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission becomes a 56-bed shelter amid COVID-19 complications

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission outreach team will provide meals to those in need in the community

Kelowna production company keeps filming through COVID-19 pandemic

DCD Productions uses drones so crew can keep their physical distance

B.C. records first at-home death from COVID-19, but 70+ hospital patients have recovered

Total of 970 novel coronavirus cases in B.C., with the majority in the Lower Mainland area

BC Ferries able to restrict travel for sick passengers

Ferries working on schedule shifts to keep workers safe

Virtual physio connects patients with Okanagan practitioners

Many local physiotherapists are ready to assist, online

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Pay parking suspended at B.C. hospitals due to COVID-19

Temporary free parking reduces need for keypads, contact

Helping those at risk, one piece of paper at a time through ‘isolation communication’

Simple paper tool during pandemic making its way across Canada thanks to social media.

‘Back to school, in a virtual way’ for B.C. students in COVID-19 pandemic

Province adds online resources to help parents at home

Don’t take hair into your own hands, urge Okanagan stylists

New Vernon shop expects high demand come May, since opening delayed

Most Read