Kicking Horse Canyon Project - Planning for Traffic Management

It is well-known that the remaining two-lane canyon section of the Trans-Canada Highway is severely constrained. As a result, the final phase of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project to improve safety, widen and realign the highway will inevitably require traffic disruptions and, at times, full highway closures.

Image showing the narrowing of the highway in Kicking Horse Canyon

In this tight space, traffic and excavation must take turns


The project team is currently developing a traffic management strategy that would minimize and mitigate the traffic disruptions while allowing the work to proceed safely and on schedule. 

The Trans-Canada Highway through the Kicking Horse Canyon will be open without interruption from the Kicking Horse Canyon Project until after a contract is awarded in late summer 2020. Once construction begins, we may see short-duration stoppages begin in fall 2020, and there is a possibility of some overnight closures. However, a detailed schedule won’t exist until after a contract is awarded.

As a rule of thumb, the contractor will be required to abide by the following during the course of the project:

Summer

  • During daytime, the highway through the Canyon will remain fully open and free of interruptions, other than momentary traffic control for turning vehicles.
  • Overnight, interruptions may range from 20 minute stoppages to 8 hour closures. The closures will require significant advance notice.

Fall, Winter and Spring

  • Daytime may see stoppages from 20 minutes to 2 hours.
  • There may be closures of up to 10 hours overnight, which will require significant advance notice.
  • In addition, there may be multi-day extended closures from April 1 to mid-May and from mid-September to the end of November.
  • The highway will be kept open for Easter and Thanksgiving long weekends, and there will be two daily peak-hour windows to allow passage for school buses, commuters and other essential local traffic/trips. Extended closures will also require significant advance notice, and the first is now expected to occur in spring 2021.

During any closure travellers would have the option of taking the alternative route using Highways 93 and 95. By limiting extended closures to off-peak periods, the total combined traffic volumes on the alternative route will be comparable to the peaks that Highways 93 and 95 currently experience in the summer.

Further information on the evolving traffic management strategy was presented at public information sessions in Radium Hot Springs on October 29 and Golden on October 30, 2019. See pages 11-25 of the displays for details.