Join us on a Highway 16 road trip from 50 years ago, through some of BC’s most spectacular natural landscapes – Prince Rupert to Terrace.
The folks in our Skeena District office travelled this segment of the BC Road Trip Time Machine recently, and identified dramatic changes between then and now. What a difference five decades makes! Some comparisons to watch for on your journey…
Highway 16 had a lot of curves in 1966, and vegetation grew close to its edges. Today the road is “brushed back” and has been straightened out, providing hugely improved visibility. About 85 to 90 per cent of the highway has been realigned, and those sections are now wider and have wider shoulders.
Nowadays, the road is further away from the railway tracks you see in this video. The video shows at least five level crossings where the highway crossed the train tracks. Today only one level crossing (viewable at 10:59) remains.
Many Wood Poles and Structures
All the bridges were wood back then, including several large Howe Trusses (bridges with overhead restrictions). Now they are all steel or concrete, and no wooden structures remain.
The video shows w-shaped steel highway barriers on sharp corners. Today most of the barriers are concrete, and there are more of them, to help prevent vehicles from leaving the road.
In 1966, motorists actually drove through an electrical transmission tower (see 4:26). Nowadays, you drive beside that same tower, and can see where the old route was. Back then, there were also plenty of power poles along the stretch. Only a few remain, as a large transmission line on the opposite side of the river now delivers power to Prince Rupert.
Watch for These Video Highlights
7:31 – A helicopter on the side of the road
9:27 – 35-mile mountain where now there are five avalanche control units above the highway that can be fired remotely, 24/7.
10:36 – Local landmark “Carwash Rock” before it was cut back to allow for more lane width.
You can see still photos of these and more highlights on Flickr.
Embark on this time travel experience, and at the end, you’ll be welcomed to Terrace by a big red and white banner!
To see how the road looks 50 years later, see the cool side-by-side video, created by David Zille. Prince Rupert to Terrace: Then and now aligns our video, with video from a drive that David took in 2016, slowing down for landmarks.
Our BC Road Trip Time Machine videos are produced from 16mm film footage, gathered in 1966. A camera rigged onto the dash of a car took still images every 80 feet or so, and the Highways Department (as we were known then) ran them all together as a single film. To take more nostalgic trips, see Road Trip Time Machine.