iN PHOTOS: These engineering wonders in Kicking Horse Pass are virtually invisible
While speeding through B.C.’s many mountain passes, it can be easy to forget the engineering marvels that make the trip so easy.
Some of those are not really visible to the travelling public, including a couple in the Kicking Horse Canyon on Highway 1 near Golden.
The provincial government expects to complete its major rebuilding of the highway through the canyon by next winter. It’s a project that started 20 years ago with the $64 million rebuilding of the Yoho Bridge along with 3.2 km of highway upgrades.
That was followed by the 2007 completion of the $143 million Park Bridge, 12 km east of Golden, along with 5.8 km of highway widening to four lanes.
The bridge is considered an engineering wonder as it curves 405 metres across and 90 metres above the Kicking Horse River.
“From down low to up on high, the beautiful Park Bridge feeds motorists through ‘the cut’ in the Kicking Horse Canyon stretch of Highway 1, near Golden,” states a 2016 Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure post that features four of B.C.’s ‘unseen engineering marvels.’
“This lofty structure is awe inspiring to say the least and the route is so seamless you might not even notice what’s below while you’re travelling it.”
READ MORE: New time travel video shows Highway 3 from Princeton to Osoyoos in 1966
Another wonder of the pass is a cantilevered stretch of highway along the river.
“This stretch of road provided engineers with a big selection of topographical challenges, some of which you might just cruise right by without even noticing,” the 2016 posting says. “For example, this innovative cantilever structure, built out over a bend in the Kicking Horse River eliminated the need for two separate bridges at the site."
Phase Three was a $66 million four-lane road widening project from the brake check to Yoho National Park and included the replacement of the Mt. Hunter Creek bridge.
Construction of the $600 million fourth and final phase of the project includes 4.8 km of four-laning “through the most challenging section of the canyon.”
The 2016 posting about hidden engineering marvels was written to highlight engineering month and includes the “Hollywood Bowl” between the Hells Gate airtram and Farabee tunnel in the Fraser Canyon.
That posting says it was built in the 1960s but iNFOnews.ca was told in 2020 that the work was done in the 1940s.
READ MORE: iN VIDEO: B.C. Highway's unknown engineering marvel is the Hollywood Bowl
The fourth engineering marvel in the post is not actually on a B.C. Highway, although the Ministry did work with the Cowichan Valley Regional District and federal government to rehabilitate the Kinsol Trestle on Vancouver Island in 2011.
It’s a railway trestle built in the 1920s and is one of the tallest free-standing railway trestles in the world. It’s 187 metres long and stands 44 metres above the Koksilah River. It’s now part of the Trans-Canada Trail.
For more photos and videos of the Kicking Horse Canyon reconstruction project, go here.
For more on Phase Four of the project, including traffic interruptions, go here.
Between April 1 and 15, Kicking Horse closures could run up to five consecutive days with closures for fewer days in May. An update on spring closures will be posted March 20 and a highway status calendar on the Ministry's webpage is updated on an ongoing basis.
- This story was updated at 5:30 p.m. on March 18, 2023 to correct the height of the Park Bridge.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.
We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above.