24/7 closure of Trans-Canada in Kicking Horse Canyon hits halfway mark | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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24/7 closure of Trans-Canada in Kicking Horse Canyon hits halfway mark

A hydraulic crawler is used to drive piles during construction on the Trans Canada Highway 1 between Golden and Field.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Province of B.C.
May 01, 2021 - 6:30 AM

A major highway reconstruction project on the Trans-Canada Highway between Golden and Field is progressing well, the province’s highways ministry says.

The project involves upgrading of 4.8 kilometres of highway through some of the most challenging sections of the Kicking Horse Canyon at an estimated cost of $601 million with the federal government chipping in $215 million.

Two weeks into a one-month extended closure of the highway to allow for uninterrupted construction activity, a statement from the ministry, April 29, said a wide range of construction activities are underway, including site clearing and preparation, safety fence installation and trail construction, which is required to access steep terrain throughout the site.

Pile driving is being done to provide bridge and wall supports along the roadway, which is being increased from two to four lanes.

“While the job is technically challenging, there haven’t been any significant engineering-related surprises,” the ministry said in the statement.

An excavator works a precarious slope on the Trans-Canada Highway construction project between Golden and Field.
An excavator works a precarious slope on the Trans-Canada Highway construction project between Golden and Field.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Province of B.C.

While traffic management has generally gone well, a lengthy detour necessitated by weeks-long closures of the main highway has resulted in reports of speeding vehicles.

Motorists are being reminded to give themselves an extra 1.5 hours of travelling time to make up for the additional distance taken by detouring on Highways 93 and 95.

“These highways are not the places to make up time, especially with the presence of wildlife, schools, homes and children,” the ministry said.

RCMP officers and the B.C. Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement team are stepping up enforcement along the alternate route.

Drilling on a side slope on the Trans-Canada Highway reconstruction project.
Drilling on a side slope on the Trans-Canada Highway reconstruction project.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Province of B.C.

Radium Hot Springs, situated at the junction of Highways 93 and 95, which act as the major detour route for the Trans-Canada during the construction, made preparations in the spring for an expected increase in highway traffic through the community during the extended closures.

The Trans-Canada carries more than 10,000 vehicles a day during the summer, including tourist and commercial traffic.

Radium Mayor Clara Reinhardt said traffic volume through the town is on track with modelling provided by the highways ministry.

“We’re surprised to be seeing mostly commercial vehicles and fewer light vehicles,” she said in an email, April 30.

Reinhardt said it was still too early to tell if the increased traffic had resulted in more wildlife fatalities and motor vehicle collisions in the area.

The current 24/7 Highway 1 closure will continue until Friday, May 14, followed by overnight closures on the weekend of May 14 to 16.

The 24-hour extended closures return on May 17, but are restricted to weekdays only.

From June 1, continuing until mid-September, daytime stoppages will cease except for momentary interruptions to allow construction vehicles to cross the highway.

Although a detailed summer schedule is not yet ready, motorists should expect 20 minute stoppages after 8 p.m. and overnight closures beginning at 10 p.m. in the summer.

Motorists should check the Drive BC website for updates.


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