New Kicking Horse Canyon road opens

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by Emily Atkins

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 November 30, 2023, marked substantial completion of Phase 4 of the Kicking Horse Canyon project.

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 percent 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.

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.

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.

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.