The first highway closures associated with Phase 4 of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project are scheduled to occur from April 12 until May 14.
During this time, the Trans-Canada Highway will be completely closed in the Kicking Horse Canyon, just east of Golden, with some provisions to local traffic.
Those who use the highway for their daily commute will be permitted to pass through, with provisions from school busses as well during this time frame. Emergency vehicles will also be allowed to pass through.
Traffic that would typically pass through the Kicking Horse Canyon along Highway 1 will be re-routed along Hwy 93 and 95, through Radium.
“The expectation is that the general public will use the alternate routes and observe the full closure,” said Mike Lorimer, executive project manager.
“The traffic management regime is complex and we have worked with local stakeholders to identify their concerns. They recognize that this work is necessary and we will try to have it happen when there’s the least impact.”
Lorimer says that major closures will be happening in the spring and fall shoulder seasons, with more major closures expected after the summer.
Minor closures can be expected outside of the full closures as well, with single lane closures for up to two hours.
However, Lorimer says that beyond the major shoulder-season closures, he expects that most of the project work will occur at night, in order to minimize disruptions.
He also says that he believes the long-term benefits will outweigh the short-term inconveniences.
“In the end, we expect it to be a safer and more reliable highway that folks from Calgary and Vancouver and all over can feel more comfortable using,” said Lorimer.
The project will see the highway expanded from two lanes to four with a meridian divider, which Lorimer says will help make it safer. Approximately 4.8 km of highway will be updated, with 13 curves realigned and wider shoulders along the highway to accomodate cyclists.
Despite COVID-19 and the provincial election this past fall, Lorimer says that the project is still right on schedule as hoped, with crews on the ground since November for preliminary work.
“We’re excited to see things get rolling, it’s been a long time coming,” said Lorimer.
“I think it’s going to be a really good project.”
MOTI announced on Nov. 6, 2020 that they had finalized a contract with Kicking Horse Canyon Constructors to design and build the project.
Hwy 95 through Golden has seen some improvements to prepare for detoured traffic, as well as through Radium with a new roundabout, which Lorimer says he believes will help with the influx of traffic due to the diverted routes.
He also says that they have been working with the BC Truckers Association and RCMP to educate and increase awareness on navigating the highway through Golden and Radium.
Lorimer also says he expects that the ongoing project will benefit Golden, as workers will make use of local accommodations and amenities throughout their work in the area, with some taking up long-term residence.