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

Significant donation boosts Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s most ambitious fundraising campaign

Townline’s $600,000 donation helps purchase new 3 Telsa MRI for Royal Jubilee Hospital

Cherry Bomb Toys, which houses the National Toy Museum of Canada, has had a rough year

The property that’s home to Cherry Bomb Toys is listed at $2.6 million

Resident mistakes screaming teens’ late-night plunge for an emergency

Big week for Oak Bay Police who respond to rampant theft in Oak Bay, host Polar Plunge

Victoria hotel proposal threatens Old Town conservation, advocates say

Height requests defy historic district’s guidelines

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

POLL: Do you support the proposed changes for ICBC?

Tuesday’s provincial budget predicted a shift from shortfall to surplus in wake… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Higher costs should kill Trans Mountain pipeline, federal opposition says

Most recent total was $12.6 billion, much higher than a previous $7.4-billion estimate

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say they’ll meet with ministers if RCMP get out

Federal minister in charge of Indigenous relations has proposed a meeting to diffuse blockades

World Cup skier from Okanagan dies suddenly at 19

Kuroda, who made his World Cup debut earlier this year, passed away suddenly Monday night.

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Most Read