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

Babchuk nominated as NDP candidate

Seeks to replace outgoing MLA Claire Trevena

BC Timber Sales’ operations on the North Island and Central Coast to be audited

The Forest Practices Board randomly chose the region to check for compliance to legislation

Mount Washington to open Dec. 4 with COVID-19 protocols in place

Reservations for some services, face coverings will be required

Quadra Island adds voice to provincial old growth protest

Demonstrators and phoning campaign put pressure on provincial government

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

Most Read