The Ministry of Transportation was in Golden last week to fill Town Council in on what is in the works for the highways surrounding town.
Several projects were discussed, including the extension of the Golden Pathway, which links downtown Golden to the highway, up to the top of the Golden Hill. The next, and final phase, will link sidewalk on the overpass to the highway strip.
“We just finished the design,” said Jack Bennetto, district manager for the area. “We really value that partnership we’ve had with the Town.”
Other improvements that are in the works, which will hopefully improve traffic flow in the area, are the installation of a coroner in Revelstoke (which will reduce highway closure times in the event of a fatality), and four-laning near Quartz Creek (which does not have a date set, but has been moved higher on the priority list).
They will also be implementing a variable speed limits system, meaning the legal speed limits will change based on road conditions between Golden and Revelstoke.
“We won’t be policing that right away while we’re implementing the system and signage,” said Bennetto. “Right now we just want to get the message across to slow down during poor weather conditions.”
They also discussed the completion of the fourth and final phase of the Kicking Horse Canyon project.
The fourth, and most difficult phase, includes upgrades of more than four kilometres through the canyon section, four-laning, alignment improvements and reduction of rock fall and avalanche hazards, and bridge retaining walls from the west portal to the Yoho Bridge.
The preliminary design, which includes extensive environmental and geotechnical studies of some difficult terrain, have been completed. Currently no timeline has been set for the project, as the province is pursuing cost sharing with the federal government to fund it. There was cost sharing for the previous phases.
During the visit the ministry also announced their intention to tackle the Kicking Horse Bridge right here in the middle of town.
Beginning in 2012 there was a business case developed, examining whether it was better to replace or rehabilitate the bridge. It has been determined that replacement is a better option.
“We’re still a ways away, but I’m really encouraged that we’re actually moving forward with that,” said Art McLean, operations manager in the region.
Starting in 2016 a stakeholder process will begin with the Town of Golden.