Frequently Asked Questions
The Phase 4 “Canyon” section is the last and most difficult part of the entire Kicking Horse Canyon Project. The improvements must be built with a view to safety, cost-effectiveness and as little disruption as possible to highway users and the community. Currently, these are the most frequently asked questions.
- The current approved project budget is $601 million. The project is cost-shared, with the Government of Canada contributing $215 million.
- The contract value is $440.6 million.
After evaluating the bids, the Province awarded the contract on November 6, 2020, to the Kicking Horse Canyon Constructors team, consisting of:
- Aecon Group Inc.
- Parsons Inc.
- Emil Anderson Construction
- Completing safety and reliability improvements to the Trans-Canada Highway through the Kicking Horse Canyon is a top transportation priority. The original alignment had a history of accident rates that were double the provincial average, and is one of the highest rock-fall hazard zones in the province.
- Additionally, upgrading this corridor will support growing Asia-Pacific trade through the Pacific Gateway and increasing tourist travel, contributing significantly to the economy on regional, provincial, and national levels.
- Major improvements to this corridor mean opening up our gateways to all of Canada and to our international trading partners with a safer, less congested corridor to facilitate more efficient movement of goods, services, and people.
- The improved corridor will provide better access to area recreation opportunities, resulting in significant economic value and jobs to the region.
- The Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) allows government to ensure that local people and communities get long-lasting benefits from public investments in major infrastructure projects.
- Key benefits of the CBA include: increased apprenticeships, training opportunities, more opportunities for Indigenous communities and under-represented groups, emphasis on opportunities for local people and businesses, with wages negotiated to align with industry.
- The CBA, as administered by BC Infrastructure Benefits (BCIB), increases opportunities for local workers, Indigenous peoples, women, and other under-represented groups to start a lifelong career in skilled trades.
- The CBA also provides training opportunities for apprentices, building our skilled trade workforce of tomorrow.
- The CBA ensures good wages with fair working conditions that foster a workplace free of discrimination, harassment, and is respectful of the cultural differences of all participants.
- More information on the CBA and BCIB is located at: https://www.bcib.ca
- The project is expected to be substantially complete in winter 2023/24.
Consultation and Engagement
- The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has held a number of open houses and interactive presentations for this final phase of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project.
- The project team also meets regularly with a Community Liaison Committee, the BC Trucking Association, and other stakeholders to maintain an ongoing dialogue.
- We will continue to work collaboratively with these groups and all stakeholders throughout the construction period.
- The project lies within the traditional territories of the Secwépemc Nation (Splatsin, Neskonlith Indian Band, Adams Lake Indian Band, Shuswap Indian Band, and Little Shuswap Lake Band) and the Ktunaxa Nation Council (?aqam, Tobacco Plains Indian Band, Lower Kootenay Indian Band, and ?akisqnuk First Nation).
- There is ongoing consultation with Indigenous communities to identify concerns, interests, and impacts on the project footprint.
- This consultation started with the first phase of Kicking Horse Canyon construction and will continue throughout the work to complete Phase 4.
- The main construction season generally runs from April to November, depending on weather conditions and traffic management.
- For most of the main construction season, the average number of workers onsite yearly will be between 100 and 300.
- During the winter season, construction activities will ramp down significantly depending on weather and snow conditions.
- The project is being delivered under the Province’s Community Benefits Agreement (CBA). BC Infrastructure Benefits (BCIB) is responsible for implementing the CBA for the project, and will be the employer for workers on the project.
- The CBA prioritizes hiring of local, Indigenous groups, women, people with disabilities and other underrepresented groups, and enables a culturally competent and respectful worksite. Through BCIB, this project will grow and mobilize a safe, diverse, and skilled workforce and increase opportunities for apprenticeships. To apply for work or to learn more about BCIB, please visit bcib.ca or call 1 888 567-2242.
- Anyone can apply for work on CBA projects and CBA worksites are unionized.
- Workers do not need to be union members before or after working on a project. While onsite, all skilled trades workers employed by BCIB need to be members of a union included in the Allied Infrastructure and Related Construction Council (AIRCC). Workers that are not already a member of an AIRCC union are required to apply for membership with one of the affiliated unions within 30 calendar days of starting work.
- The intent is to provide opportunities to as much of the workforce as possible, and make sure everyone gets an opportunity to participate in the construction jobs markets, regardless of union affiliation.
- The priority is to keep worksites safe to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by applying all necessary and appropriate safety measures.
- At this time, the construction schedule has been unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Construction and Traffic Management
- Road closures due to Kicking Horse Canyon Project construction apply only to the 4.8-km construction zone in the canyon itself. The highway from Castle Junction to Lake Louise, Field, and Beaverfoot is open, even during extended closures, as is the highway leading to businesses and residences on Golden Hill and via the Golden Donald Upper Road.
- The rugged and steep canyon terrain of the Project area requires traffic disruptions and some closures to facilitate the major improvements to the Trans-Canada Highway. The Project’s traffic management strategy is designed to minimize and mitigate traffic disruptions while allowing the work to proceed safely and on schedule.
- Please note that road closures due to project construction apply only to the 4.8-km construction zone in the canyon itself. The Trans-Canada Highway from Castle Junction to Lake Louise, Field, and Beaverfoot will be open even during extended closures, as is the highway leading to businesses and residences on Golden Hill and via the Golden Donald Upper Road.
- Always check drivebc.ca for the most up-to-date information on traffic conditions in and around the Kicking Horse Canyon Phase 4 construction site.
- In the summer, the highway will remain fully open and free of interruptions during the daytime, other than momentary traffic control for turning vehicles. Overnight, interruptions may range from 20-minute stoppages to 9-hour closures. Significant advance notice will be given for these closures.
- See the Traffic Management and the Highway Status / Trip Planning Calendar for more information. Visit the calendar page on the project website.
- Always check drivebc.ca for the most up-to-date information on traffic conditions
- In fall, winter, and spring, there may be daytime traffic stoppages from 20 minutes to 2 hours. There may also be nighttime closures of up to 9 hours, which will require significant advance notice.
- Additionally, there may be multi-day, 24-hr extended closures between April 1 and the end of May, and from mid-September to the end of November.
- The highway will always be open for Easter, Victoria Day, and Thanksgiving long weekends.
- The alternative route is expected to add about 1.5 hours to driving time between Castle Junction and Golden, B.C, for a total driving time from Golden to Castle Junction of 2.5 hours.
- The project team has been working with the Rocky Mountain District and Parks Canada to enhance maintenance on the alternative route during project construction, as well as increasing the frequency of sweeping and line painting, upgrading existing signs, and installing new signs.
- We continue to work with our community stakeholders to address the needs of emergency service providers, the school bus, and local commuters. This includes discussions with the trucking and passenger transportation industries, to understand the effect on the movement of goods.
- Improvements along the alternative route include:
- New signalized intersection in Golden to improve traffic flow and turning movements into the main town center.
- Widening and realignment of the highway in Golden, south of the town bridges, to improve north-bound commercial truck access to the bridges.
- Creation of dedicated left turn lanes to improve turning movements at a high-volume intersection in Golden.
- Enhancement of wildlife corridor signage between Golden and Radium.
- Additional pavement marking in the fall on both Highways 95 and 93S.
- Construction of a new commercial vehicle inspection site near Harrogate.
- Intersection improvements on Highway 95 in the Edgewater area.
- Construction of a new roundabout in Radium.
- Addition of three overhead Dynamic Message Signs to provide messaging to drivers related to wildlife, school bus operations, road conditions, and potential congestion.
- Enhanced patrols and enforcement along Highways 95 and 93S during alternate route implementation.
- Rock removal through Sinclair canyon to provide commercial trucks with additional room (Parks Canada).
- Enhanced pavement marking through Sinclair Canyon (by Parks Canada)
- Expansion of a brake check along Highway 93S (by Parks Canada).
- The alternative route is safe and has the capacity to accommodate the traffic diverted during the closures, which are timed to occur during off-peak periods. However, all motorists, especially those unfamiliar with the route, should drive with caution and awareness that traffic volumes will be higher than normal for the period. Watch for wildlife, school buses and children. Enforcement by RCMP and CVSE on the alternative route has been increased during traffic diversion periods.
- Construction for the Kicking Horse Canyon Project is subject to provincial and federal environmental legislation and regulations.
- Detailed environmental studies have been completed, and the project team is working with Indigenous groups and stakeholders to minimize impacts to areas of cultural heritage, sensitive ecosystems, wildlife and aquatic habitats, and water quality.
- Project Environmental information is located in our Document Library.