With Highway 1 closed for the second major full-closure of the Kicking Horse Canyon project, Highways 93 and 95 have seen an increase in traffic as vehicles are being diverted through Radium.
Despite the increase in traffic, BC Highway Patrol Cpl. Mike Halskov says both stretches of highway are relatively stable in terms of serious collisions.
However, he says highway patrol is seeing a spike in the number of complaints in unsafe driving practices, such as speeding and passing in unsafe locations.
“Any time you see a volume increase in traffic, there’s a potential for more crashes,” said Halskov.
“We haven’t seen an increase in crashes, but we are seeing a spike in complaints of unsafe driving.”
He says cases where the BC Highway Patrol have been involved have been for the most part relatively minor, with single-vehicle collisions and no significant injuries.
Halskov also pointed out while the detour may be less than ideal, it far outweighs the amount of collisions they would typically have to respond to in the Kicking Horse Canyon stretch of Highway 1.
“We just haven’t seen the number of collisions in that area where there are a significant amount of crashes translate to the same number of collisions along 95 and 93,” he said.
He says BC Highway Patrol continues to monitor the situation along Highways 93 and 95, as the current closure to Highway 1 will remain in place for another month and a half, lifting on Dec. 1 at 6 a.m.
Extended closures will continue in the spring and fall shoulder seasons until the projects completion, which is expected in the fall of 2023.
Up to 30 weeks of closures can be expected over the full length of the project, with the current closure the second to date for the project.
Halskov says when driving along the detour, it’s important to follow the rules of the road, such as driving the speed limit, adjusting for weather conditions, driving defensively and wearing a seat belt.
He also says don’t engage with aggressive drivers.
When calling dangerous driving complaints, take note of the car make and model, colour, license plate, location, direction of travel, and even the number of people in the vehicle.
Halskov says BC Highway Patrol continues to work with police detachments in Cranbrook, Golden and even in Alberta to help keep the detour route safe for travellers.
Currently, the RCMP and highway patrol presence on the highways is being increased, particularly during peak traffic hours, to help monitor and maintain driving safety.