BC Highway History Alert! More Snapshots in Time Revealed

Are you a BC Highways history nerd? If so – GET READY!
We promised you more amazing historical images after our first historical snapshots blog  and we are delivering on that promise.
Don’t consider yourself a highways history nerd?
Don’t worry – you will be after you take a look at some of the images below.

As some of you might already know, we’ve been going through our old photos and sharing our favourites with you. These pictures were taken between the years 1965 and 1975 and capture a slice of the wide range of the work that has been done by the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure across this beautiful province.

So pull up a chair, settle in and take a tour down memory lane – Department of Highways style.

It’s called a pavement burner and it looks like it’s doing a great job living up to its name. Just looking at this shot makes us feel the heat. Once the pavement was burned, it was scooped up and replaced with new material. Did you know we now have a machine that does this whole process on the spot?
When we post a sign, we mean it. Looks like someone agreed with us on this one and added an additional sign saying so. Taken at the top of Kootenay Pass, looking westbound.
This amazing image feels like it could have been taken during the dust bowl days or the depression era, doesn’t it? It’s actually a candid shot of one of our staffers repairing a machine in the Nelson area in the late 60s.
Who says Vancouver Island doesn’t know snow? This shot of two staffers in a ministry truck was taken near Port Alberni on Vancouver Island. And that is a LOT of snow.
Half men – half mountain goats. A slippery slope near Revelstoke didn’t stop this survey crew from scrambling down to get the specs.

Early “Garbage Gobbler” looking sharp in his tux and ready to be deployed roadside. These litter bugs have taken many shapes over the years, but they still remain an iconic part of the BC roadtrip.
Taken on top of Tabor Mountain, this amazing shot shows some of our staff helping to place a protective dome over a radio repeater dome. Our radio repeater system is still an important tool for communication in remote areas.
Don’t mess with this snow plow! This minstry staffer stands proudly in front of his grader which is mounted with a V plow. These plows work best on side roads, and were in use until the early 80s, when modern wing plows arrived on the scene. Pretty impressive looking isn’t it?
If you look closely at this picture you can see a man standing in front of a huge boulder. This is the foot of the Hope Slide. In the early morning hours of Saturday, January 9th, 1965 nearly half of Johnson Peak collapsed and descended into the Nicolum Valley, approx. 20 km east of Hope, destroying nearly four kilometres of Highway 3 (the Hope-Princeton Highway) and filling up the bottom the valley with rock and mud up to a depth of 200 feet. Department of Highways crews worked tirelessly for 13 days in order to re-establish the highway connection and in this photolog video you can actually see the path they cut through the debris to reconnect the road. In the early 1980’s the highway alignment was rerouted around the base of the slide debris field, instead of through it. Visitors to the area today can pull off the highway and visit a monument dedicated to the event.
This photograph of a ministry engineer and foreman was taken on site in the early days after the Hope slide occurred and gives you a real sense of the seriousness of the situation which had unfolded on BC Highway 3.
Strangest picture of the bunch. A member of the Kelowna Scuba Diving Club helps a ministry staffer collect signs from Okanagan Lake. We’re guessing Okanagan teens used to chuck road signs off the dock and into the lake for fun?
How about that for perspective? This worker is scaling rock high above Dry Creek Bridge in the Golden area, just like it’s no big deal.
Look out CHiPS! BC had it’s own brand of highway patrol! The Department of Highways Traffic Patrol kept traffic moving safely in the Lower Mainland between 1958 -1988. Patrolmen were responsible for controlling traffic at ferry terminals, on and approaching local area bridges (such as the Lion’s Gate, Second Narrows and the Port Mann) as well as acting as reserve constables for local police detachments and BC RCMP.

Pretty cool stuff, huh? We thought you would like it. And don’t worry, there’s more to come. Let us know what you think of this or anything else we do in the comments below.

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