The four week long, 24-hour closure to the Trans-Canada highway just east of Golden has begun, with traffic being re-routed south along highways 93 and 95, through Radium.
The closures came into effect at midnight Sunday night/Monday morning on April 12 and will be in effect until May 14.
Only a limited number of vehicles with commuter passes will be able to travel the highway during this time, with applications for passes available online on the Kicking Horse Canyon Phase 4 website.
The closures are a part of a major construction project the realign and widen the final 4.8 kilometres of the Trans-Canada through the Kicking Horse Canyon, which is known for its winding turns and narrow road.
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.
“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.”
According data from ICBC, in 2019 the Trans-Canada was the site of the majority of vehicle crashes in Golden, with 131, or just over one third of all incidents, occurring along the highway.
The Trans-Canada from the Alberta/B.C. border to Golden and even extending west to Revelstoke is considered one of the most dangerous highways in B.C. and Canada at large, due to high volumes of traffic, unpredictable weather and tricky terrain that often combine to create difficult driving conditions.
It’s estimated that the highway sees more than 12,000 vehicles daily during the summer, with up to 30 per cent of traffic consisting of commercial vehicles.
According to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, 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.
Kicking Horse Canyon Constructors has been selected by the Province for Phase 4 of the Kicking Horse Canyon project. The group consists of Aecon Group Inc, Parsons Inc and Emil Anderson Construction.
There will be further closures from May 17-21, May 25-28 and May 31 to June 1 during the spring 2021 shoulder season. In the fall shoulder season, there will be another extended 24 hour closure, although the dates have yet to be announced. Three months notice must be given prior to the fall closures.