Kicking Horse Canyon Constructors issued a notification March 8 that construction on the Trans-Canada highway as a part of Phase 4 of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project would require additional closures into June, an extension from the originally announced April 12 to May 14 closure period.
Additional closures to the highway will occur from May 17-21, May 25-28 and May 31 to June 1 during the spring 2021 shoulder season.
“Traffic management we know is probably going to be the thing that impacts people by far the most here,” said Mike Lorimer, executive project director.
“We’ve identified windows for these extended closures where hopefully we can minimize that impact.”
He says the planned window for construction is April 1 to June 1 to fall into the spring shoulder season, but they just didn’t have the information necessary at the time they announced the closures to see how long would ultimately be necessary.
Lorimer explained that 90 days notice is needed for the closures, which backdated to Jan. 12, 2021, the week that the initial closures were originally announced.
This meant that Kicking Horse Constructors only had two months after being awarded the initial contract in November 2020 to start making decisions on closures.
The initial four-week long closure was what was known to be necessary to fall into that window of the spring shoulder season and were announced with the idea that potentially it would need to be extended.
“I think the addition has created a bit of confusion, but it is allowed in the contract,” said Lorimer.
“At the end of the day, we’re not doing anything that we hadn’t already committed to doing. The reality is as their designs were being developed, they realized that they needed to extend that closure.”
Only 30 weeks of closures are permitted throughout the entire project, with most of the work scheduled for off-peak tourism seasons.
Another window of construction is planned in the fall, from late September until Dec. 1. No official closures have been announced in that window yet.
Lorimer also says details on the pass system will be released soon, which will allow a limited number of cars through the canyon to help minimize the impact on those most impacted by the closures.
Passes will be able to be picked up at the office in town for the project, once details are released.