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

Nanaimo woman to compete in new season of ‘Big Brother Canada’

Carol Rosher, a cancer survivor, is one of 16 houseguests appearing on reality TV show

Nanaimo Buccaneers win in overtime in playoff opener

Bucs goalie Austin Dendl makes 46 saves to lead his team to 2-1 win over Campbell River Storm

Banned Nanaimo investment advisor accused of lying under oath to investigators

B.C. Securities Commission to schedule hearing in March

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Opal frustrations creating danger

Traffic-calming on Opal Road has increased driving speeds on Rock City Road, says letter writer

RDN bylaw allows people experiencing homelessness to camp overnight in some parks

Board of directors unanimously passes park use regulations bylaw

VIDEO: Reconciliation is dead: Wet’suwet’en supporters vow to keep protesting at B.C. legislature

Supporters say they will continue ongoing action to hold government accountable

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

B.C. seniors’ watchdog calls for better oversight after recent problems at Retirement Concepts care homes

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

Blockade reroutes traffic on Pat Bay Highway

About 80 people from four major Peninsula First Nations blocking major highway

Trucking company fined $175K for Kootenay creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

Commute in Nanaimo slowed as SUV goes up onto highway barrier, gets stuck

Accident happened at 5 p.m. on old Island Highway and Highland Boulevard

Most Read