Highway 1 will be closed east of Golden between April 12 and May 14 due to Kicking Horse Canyon Project upgrades.
The project involves redesigning and expanding a 4.8 km section of highway, just outside Golden. Currently, the highway in this area is wedged next to crumbling cliffs and frequently susceptible to rockfall and avalanches. There are also multiple tight corners.
Those who use the highway for their daily commute will be permitted to pass through, such as the school bus. Emergency vehicles will also be allowed to pass through.
Traffic that would typically travel that section of Highway 1 will be re-routed along Hwy 93 and 95, through Radium.
“The expectation is that the general public will use the alternate routes and observe the full closure,” said Mike Lorimer, project manager.
“The traffic management regime is complex and we have worked with local stakeholders to identify their concerns. They recognize that this work is necessary and we will try to have it happen when there’s the least impact.”
Lorimer says other major closures are expected in this fall. The project is expected to be finished by 2023.
Minor closures can be expected this summer, with single lane closures for up to two hours.
However, Lorimer says that beyond the major shoulder-season closures, he expects that most of the project work will occur at night, in order to minimize disruptions.
He also says the long-term benefits will outweigh the short-term inconveniences.
“In the end, we expect it to be a safer and more reliable highway that folks from Calgary and Vancouver and all over can feel more comfortable using,” said Lorimer.
The project will see the highway expanded from two lanes to four with a meridian divider, which Lorimer says will help make it safer. Approximately 4.8 km of highway will be updated, with 13 curves realigned and wider shoulders along the highway to accomodate cyclists.
Despite COVID-19 and the provincial election this past fall, Lorimer says that the project is still right on schedule to finish by 2023 at a cost of $601 million. Crews have been on the ground since November for preliminary work.
“We’re excited to see things get rolling, it’s been a long time coming,” said Lorimer.
“I think it’s going to be a really good project.”
Hwy 95 through Golden has seen some improvements to prepare for detoured traffic, as well as through Radium with a new roundabout.