The Kicking Horse Canyon Project has made some great progress this summer. Phase three has been well underway and is one year ahead of schedule.
Phase three of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project included reconstructing the highway between the 10 mile hill commercial vehicle brake check and Yoho National Park and improving the Golden hill by creating a four lane highway, overpass and roundabout for safer and more convenient travel. The project also included widening highway shoulders, wildlife crossings and a new Mt. Hunter Creek Bridge.
“Phase three has two major components,” Murray Tekano, Senior Project Director, said. “The brake-check to Yoho National Park and the Golden Hill to west portal. It was done in multiple work packages.” The Golden Hill area will reach substantial completion later this fall and full completion will be reached at the end of 2012.
“The roads and paving will be in place and properly paved and wildlife fencing complete. The overpass is in place now. The area will be largely done and minor work will only need to be done. Substantial completions will be later this fall and it will look pretty much complete,” Tekano explained. “There has been some really great progress. We are really proud of the high degree of local labour and equipment we have used on the program.”
This August also marked the beginning of the new trail that will be going up Golden Hill. “The work that has been going on included partnering with the Town of Golden on adding some amenities including an improved viewpoint area that will become a feature and from there the pathway will go to the Visitors Centre. The pathway provides a way for people on Pine Drive to cross the highway without having to dodge traffic. The trail will lead down to the viewpoint, then the path will go to the old viewpoint but that one will now only be accessible to people biking or walking.”
The pathway will also extend to provide bikers and walkers with an alternate route to head to town or back up the hill rather than being on the shoulder of the highway. The project is scheduled to be complete in October.
“They have a new multipurpose highway. We think it is a great advantage. That’s a really positive thing and we are really happy we are able to, working with the Province and Town, extend that path.” A large aspect of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project is improving the safety of the area, which during peak summer days, has 10 thousand cars travelling. The Kicking Horse Canyon has an accident rate that doubles that of the province and also has a high rock fall danger.
“The project was started and phase one, two and three were started to meet certain objectives including safety. We are seeing a significant accident reduction. The area from the brake check to Yoho Park was always difficult for traffic in the winter and we did things like raise the median barriers. There has been a huge drop of traffic incidents there. The Golden Hill area has also seen a significant reduction of traffic incidents with animals.”
If you would like more information on the Kicking Horse Canyon Project including details on spending and phase 4, visit www.kickinghorsecanyon.ca.