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Posted: February 25, 2021

Kicking Horse highway work details emerging

As crews mobilize and construction draws nearer for the Kicking Horse Canyon Project along the Trans-Canada Highway near Golden, more detailed traffic management schedules will soon be available for people who live and work in the region.

Construction on the fourth and final phase of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project includes realigning and widening a section of the Trans-Canada Highway east of Golden. Along with 4.8 kilometres of four-laning the highway, improvements will include snow avalanche and rock fall mitigation, as well as wildlife exclusion fencing.

Major construction works will get underway in April.

When extended closures are necessary, a pass system will be implemented. This system will allow local commuters and school buses to be escorted through the construction zone.

Golden

The project will also require the detour of Trans-Canada traffic through Kootenay National Park to Radium Hot Springs and then north to Golden on Highway 95, for about one month.

The project will implement a range of traffic management strategies, including:

* Beginning in early March 2021, single-lane alternating traffic will be common with delays of 20 to 30 minutes.

* By the middle of March, there may be closures of up to two hours on weekdays during the late morning, early afternoon and early evening.

* Beginning in mid-March, there may be overnight closures of up to nine hours between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. During any overnight closures, Trans-Canada Highway traffic will be diverted to the alternative route of highways 93 and 95 through Radium Hot Springs.

To stay well informed of traffic impacts throughout the project, people are encouraged to check DriveBC.ca before they leave on their travels. The scheduled times of the potential two-hour and overnight closures will be posted a week beforehand.

As noted in mid-January, Kicking Horse Canyon Constructors will implement a one-month extended closure of the Trans-Canada Highway from April 12 to May 14. During this period, through traffic on Highway 1 between Golden to Castle Junction will be routed via highways 93 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 have signage.

The timing of the 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 closure, the 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 expected to be outlined on the project website by mid-March.

The ministry said in a media release it appreciates people’s patience during the work. Drivers are reminded to obey construction zone speed limits and the directions of traffic personnel.

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.

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 rehiring 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, welcoming environment. It increases opportunities for apprentices to work on site and gain the experience they need to move toward completing their certification.

Lead image: Highway signage at the junction (roundabout) of Highway 93 and 95 in Radium Hot Springs. e-KNOW file photo

e-KNOW


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