Wider, safer Highway 1 open through Kicking Horse Canyon
People travelling the Trans-Canada Highway through the Kicking Horse Canyon are now using a wider, safer, four-lane divided highway, with the opening of the new westbound lanes through Phase 4 of the project.
The opening of all four lanes on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023, marks substantial completion of Phase 4 of the Kicking Horse Canyon project. Construction will pause for the winter. When work resumes in spring, the final pieces of the project will be completed, including landscaping, wildlife fence installation, limited final paving and painting of permanent line markings.
Construction in spring may require minor lane closures and delays. Details will be posted on the project website in March 2024.
This section of Highway 1 through the Kicking Horse Canyon has a posted speed limit of 80 km/h until completion in spring 2024. Following completion, it will be posted at 100 km/h. Motorists are reminded to be prepared for winter, drive appropriately for the conditions, and be alert to the presence of wildlife.
More than $600 million is being invested in the project, with the Government of Canada contributing $215.19 million and the B.C. government providing the remaining $385.58 million.
The Kicking Horse Canyon, located just east of Golden, BC, is one of the most rugged and scenic sections to be found on the Trans-Canada Highway.
As a tourist and commercial transportation corridor, the highway carries more than 10,000 vehicles daily during the summer. While the mix varies by season, up to 30% of the traffic consists of commercial vehicles moving millions of dollars in goods to serve interprovincial and international trade.
Three phases of work have previously transformed 21 kilometres of narrow, winding two-lane highway into a modern four-lane, 100 km/h standard. Major construction of the fourth and final phase to complete the remaining – and most difficult – 4.8 kilometres began in early 2021.
The challenge of this work has been substantial and has involved significant traffic disruptions ranging from 20-minute stoppages to overnight closures and even multi-day closures during off-peak shoulder season.
The “substantial completion” milestone brings an end to these disruptions as the contractor, Kicking Horse Canyon Constructors, shuts down construction for the winter.