By Todd Stone, B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
KAMLOOPS – The Province’s new 10-year transportation plan, B.C. on the Move, prioritizes investments in our transportation network, and highlights our commitment to continued improvements to Highway 1 between Kamloops and the Alberta border.
The Trans-Canada Highway is B.C.’s primary southern east-west corridor. The section between Kamloops and the Alberta border is more than 400 kilometres long and winds through some of the most challenging terrain in Canada. It is an essential corridor for trade and travel, used by as many as 12,000 vehicles each day, and accounting for the movement of $2 billion dollars in trade per year.
Since 2001, the provincial and federal governments have invested approximately $700 million in improvements between Kamloops and the Alberta border. As part of this investment, the Province has widened 45 kilometres of Highway 1 to four lanes and has replaced or installed 11 new structures.
Work is currently underway to widen more sections of Highway 1 to improve safety and capacity. Construction is in full swing on two major Highway 1 improvement projects between Monte Creek and Hoffman’s Bluff east of Kamloops. Another phase of this work will start this spring, to widen another three kilometres of Highway 1 from two to four lanes through Hoffman’s Bluff itself.
In addition, work is underway east of Sicamous to replace the Malakwa Bridge and widen three kilometres of highway to four lanes.
As detailed in our recently launched 10-year transportation plan, B.C. on the Move, and building on the provincial commitment to invest $650 million over the next 10 years towards four-laning Highway 1 from Kamloops to the Alberta border, the Province will work with Canada to leverage federal funding for priority projects. It is the Province’s goal to increase investment on this corridor to over $1 billion with partners over the next 10 years.
With federal and provincial contributions to date, 22 of the 26 kilometres through the Kicking Horse Canyon, east of Golden, have been widened to four lanes, dramatically improving safety and capacity of this section of the Trans-Canada. To complete the remaining four kilometres, an investment of up to $650 million is needed. The Province continues to pursue a federal partnership through the National Infrastructure Component of the Building Canada Fund to enable completion of this project.
Other Highway 1 improvement projects prioritized through B.C. on the Move include Hoffman’s Bluff to Jade Mountain, Donald East, Illecillewaet and Salmon Arm West. Planning and design work is underway on each of these projects.
Through B.C. on the Move, we are making other investments in the safety and reliability of Highway 1. As part of our $25-million-per-year Roadside Safety program, we’ll be piloting a variable speed zone between Malakwa and Revelstoke, and investing in guardrails in key locations along the corridor.
Because Highway 1 traverses some of the province’s most challenging avalanche terrain, the Province is also committing to pursue new technologies and other improvements to reduce the number and duration of highway closures during periods of high avalanche hazard. The ministry will also work towards this goal with local government and incident responders, including the police and BC Coroners Service.
Improving the Trans-Canada Highway between Kamloops and the Alberta border to make it safer and more efficient for all travellers is critical to attract new investment and support economic growth in British Columbia.
Through B.C. on the Move, the Government of B.C. will continue to four-lane and implement safety improvements on the Trans-Canada, and work with Canada to leverage available funding to build on our partnership successes to date.