What is So Important about Phase Four of the Kicking Horse Canyon?


Rushing rivers and soaring mountains make for a beautiful road trip, but when it comes to widening and improving highways, those same breathtaking features can pose an incredible challenge. Few highways in BC are more beautiful or challenging than the Kicking Horse Canyon along Highway 1.

Constructed through Kicking Horse Pass in 1962 and following basically the original Canadian Pacific Rail route, this portion of the Trans-Canada Highway reaches its highest point at an elevation of 1,643 metres or 5,390 feet.  That’s a pretty steep mountain.  Add in the Kicking Horse River running alongside the road and you begin to see why this stretch has remained two lanes for so long.  There was simply no room to grow without a large dollar value attached to it.

We are thrilled to announce that funds are now in place to tackle the most difficult and expensive phase of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project, from West Portal to Yoho Bridge. Construction cost will be one of the most expensive in the province’s history per-kilometre and will include the four-laning and realignment of four kilometres of highway, requiring a combination of bridges, retaining walls, rock catchment ditches and other measures to reduce rock fall hazards and bring the road up to a modern four-lane standard.  Funding has also been secured to four-lane highway 1 between the Donald Weigh Scale and Forde Station Road (about 20 kilometres west of Golden).

We’ve fired up our Road Trip Time Machine to show you the road as it was in 1966 and to help you imagine where we are going on this important route in the future.  Learn more about our photologs and see other BC Road Trip Time Machines here.

Sears catalogue surveyor
The Trans-Canada Highway is the primary east-west connector through British Columbia, our main gateway to the rest of Canada, and a vital route for travel, tourism and trade and BC Highway 1 (between Kamloops and the Alberta border) is being improved as a part of a  10 year transportation plan. Do you have any questions about this, or any other work we do? Let us know in the comments below or connect with us on Twitter or Facebook.

TranBC Trivia
Kicking Horse Pass and River were named after James Hector, a naturalist, geologist, and surgeon who was a member of the Palliser Expedition through the area in the mid 1800’s. Hector was kicked by his horse while exploring the region, knocked unconscious and believed dead. Luckily for Hector, he fully recovered but the horse story stuck and the area came to be known as Kicking Horse. Now you know.Slow sign worker

Page 1 of 34 comments on “What is So Important about Phase Four of the Kicking Horse Canyon?”

Leave a Reply to Jordan Cancel reply

    • Hello Coyote,

      At this time a contractor for rock scaling, rock bottling and mesh work has not been selected. A Request for Proposals will be issued in the coming months for proponents interested in this Design-Build opportunity that would see construction beginning in 2019. Hope that this helps!

      Reply
  1. I moved the o Golden in 1966 as a child and always thought the “Canyon” was a treacherous piece of road and I recall traffic traveling through there at 20mph or less, frustrating the locals and the truckers on the Highway. What I noticed in the time machine video is th lack of on coming traffic, as well, th video does not reflect the narrowness of the Highway nor can you get a sense of how steep the canyon walls are. The upgrade of this stretch of Highway is long over due. In 1975 I travelling th Trans Canada Hwy all the way to Nova Scotia and this stretch of road, closely followed by the Roger’s Pass were by far th worst stretch of Highway. I am curious to know what happened to the plan for builinding tunnels through the mountain for this piece of the Kicking Horse Canyon ?

    Reply
    • Hi Kaye,

      Thanks for connecting with us here and sharing your memories.Tunnels were a consideration in earlier design concepts, however, further engineering during the preliminary design phase found more cost effective solutions that did not require them.

      Reply
  2. I suppose better late than never. Give it another decade or three and you might get round to doing the accident prone sections of two lane highway either side of Revelstoke too.

    Reply