Your Top TranBC Engineering Stories

Happy National Engineering Month-1In Canada, we celebrate National Engineering and Geoscience Month in March, highlighting the importance of engineering as a career and its impact on our daily lives. Engineering is such a HUGE part of what we do at the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. From wildlife overpasses to Port Mann cable collars to rip rap to speed limits, it’s all covered with an engineering expertise.

To showcase some of the work we do, we collected some of our most popular blogs on engineering. These are the stories you liked and came back to, so who are we to argue?

Why Transportation Needs 6 Types of Engineers

“Engineering” is a single word for many different forms of knowledge. “Transportation engineering” narrows it down a bit, but specializations branch out further still. There are approximately 210 staff members in our Engineering Services Branch, representing six areas of expertise. Each type of engineer is vital for building and maintaining highways that are safe, reliable and have a minimal impact on the environments they travel through.

Road Trip: Hagwilget Bridge Over Time

For more than 150 years, the Hagwilget Bridge near Hazelton has evolved from planks and cedar ropes to steel and concrete. Take a look at the progress from then ‘til now, and a little history lesson, too.

Rip Rap is Actually Hard Rock

“Just a pile of rocks”? Nope. Well, they have a purpose besides just being a pile of rocks. Learn how that rubble is used to protect our coast lines. (I like “rock armour” better)

4 Unseen Engineering Marvels in BC

We drive around our beautiful province but sometimes don’t get to see some of the coolest infrastructure around. Here are four of our favourite unseen engineering feats, on or near BC highways.

6 Types of BC Bridges Identified

A bridge is a bridge is a bridge…which couldn’t be less true. There are so many different types. Because British Columbia is so geographically diverse and because bridge engineering evolves over time, you will see a variety of bridge types being used in BC. Here are six.

Road Trip Time Machine: BC Highway 97 – U.S. Border to Vernon, circa 1966

What would it be like to hit the highways more than 50 years ago? We can actually answer that question with our 16 mm photolog footage. We’ve shared a few in our BC Road Trip Time Machine series, but this was the trip you most enjoyed.

Behind the Scenes: BC Wildlife, Trucks Saved from Collision

Take another look at the thermal imaging from our Wildlife Detection System cameras on Highway 3. It’s an interesting sneak peek into something we normally don’t get to see but it is cool to see the signs in action.

Construction of the Coquihalla: Still Amazing After 30 Years

In 2016, we celebrated the 30-year anniversary of the Coquihalla Highway, one of the most ambitious highway projects in our province’s history. We put together a collection of videos, photos, trivia and historical information that you’ve found pretty interesting.

The Evergreen Line Tunnel: Alice Will Make it a Boring Job

She’s 85 metres long. She weighs 109 tonnes. She likes to eat dirt. We’re of course talking about “Alice,” the Evergreen Extension’s Tunnel Boring Machine. The rapid transit line is now open but it’s interesting to look back at how we got here and the engineering feats that made it so.

Know When to Slow for Weather With Variable Speed Signs

Our highway engineers set speed limits based on IDEAL driving conditions – think bare, dry roads and warm, clear weather. Of course when weather messes with these conditions, you have to adjust your speed. We’ve now installed digital Variable Speed Limit signs as part of a pilot project to help reduce weather-related crashes.

How We Helped Protect 1000s of Years of BC History on Vancouver Island

Engineering doesn’t happen in a vaccum. There’s a lot of discussion and collaboration in the work they do. In 2014, we worked with Tseycum First Nation on Vancouver Island to prevent a portion of the Patricia Bay beach from eroding and washing out West Saanich Road. Here’s that story.

It’s very easy to talk about engineering for us here at the ministry since we have so many stories to tell. We appreciate the fact that you find such value in what we do and how we do it across BC. Thank you.

Share this page:SharingFacebookTwitterLinkedInCopy Text

Page 1 of 5 comments on “Your Top TranBC Engineering Stories”

Leave a Comment

  1. Well I suppose it is better than nothing that you are upgrading 3.5 km of level and mostly straight highway at the same time as you replace the life expired bridge with rusted through I-beams that was identified as in need of urgent replacement years ago. However that still leaves over 30 km of unimproved, narrow, winding 1960’s two lane between there and Revelstoke. If that stretch doesn’t have the highest accident rate and closure frequency of any major highway in the province (or Canada) it must surely come close.

  2. My favourite bit of highway engineering will be the upgrading of the accident and closure prone Trans-Canada west of Revelstoke (which is currently closed and has caused the cancellation of my long awaited appointment with an orthopedic surgeon). Unfortunately I expect to die of old age before this section is upgraded (I am the same age as the highway, both my parents are still alive and I hope to live at least as long as them).

    • Hello Nick,

      Thank you for your comments. As you know, we are working on a number of projects to improve the safety and reliability of the Trans-Canada between Kamloops and the Alberta border, including areas west of Revelstoke. The North Fork Bridge replacement 28 km east of Sicamous will increase highway capacity from two to four lanes and improve traffic flow as well as:
      -3.5-km section widened to four lanes
      -Paved centre median with 2.6-metre-wide barrier
      -2.5-metre-wide paved shoulders
      -Rumble strips
      -1.7 km of new frontage roads
      -Two new protected T-intersections
      -Retaining wall to avoid impacts on rail corridor

      You can find more information on other works underway as well as new announcements on this long term initiative here: