Drone photo of Park Bridge completed in 2015 in Kicking Horse Canyon shows challenge of highway widening through the Rocky Mountains. (Ministry of Transportation)

Kicking Horse widening budget up $151 million as bidders invited

Union-only construction adds 5.8% to price of B.C.’s toughest project

B.C.’s transportation ministry is inviting bids to design and build the most difficult highway project in the province’s history, with costs going up, mainly due to union-only construction and engineering changes.

The latest cost estimate for the fourth phase of the Kicking Horse Canyon widening project is $601 million, a $151 million increase since the 2016 project budget. The ministry estimates that $35 million of that is to implement the NDP government’s “community benefits agreement” for public construction projects, requiring worker membership in approved building trades unions.

Other increased costs include additional geotechnical and other engineering work, additional foundation supports for bridges and retaining walls, consultation with Indigenous communities and a bigger contingency fund due to the risk and complexity of the project.

Phase four is four-laning of the final section of Kicking Horse Canyon east of Golden, 4.8 km from West Portal to Yoho Bridge. Construction is slated to begin in the summer of 2020, with completion by the winter of 2023-24.

The cost increase also includes an additional $23 million in interest charges, since the project was initially approved with a $450 million price tag in 2015.

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena emphasized the safety improvement needed in the Kicking Horse Canyon, which has an accident rate three times the average for B.C. highways and areas with effectively no shoulder for vehicles to pull off in an emergency.

RELATED: B.C. Highway 1 widening demanded for decades

RELATED: Single-bridge option chosen for Sicamous section

The average speed for the existing canyon road is 55-65 km/h, causing long backups behind transport trucks and recreational vehicles winding through the scenic route. The objective of the widening is to get the average speed up to 100 km/h as well as enhance safety.

The project will require closure of the Trans Canada Highway from Castle Junction to Golden for an estimated total of 15 weeks. A detour route using Highway 93 and 95 through Radium Hot Springs will add 104 km to the route, approximately an hour and a half of additional travel time.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Kootenay couple escapes Spain – safe, sound, and in self-isolation

BC couple Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

Grand Forks and Boundary cancellations, changes due to COVID-19

This newspaper’s list of community events, institutions that change or cancel due to pandemic

Interior Health officials outline pandemic response in virtual town hall

Kelowna-Lake County MLA Norm Letnick moderates digital discussion, Q&A with Interior Health leadership

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

Evening world update: U.S. restrictions extended 30 days; NY deaths near 1,000

Comprehensive world update, with the latest developments in the COVID-19 crisis

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. announces $3M for food banks to increase capacity during COVID-19

It is not clear how much of the money will flow towards Greater Victoria food banks

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Most Read