Article

CANYON HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION

0 109 Infrastructure

by Jean Sorensen

“The Trans-Canada Highway is our most important gateway to the rest of Canada and the completion of Phase 1 is a major upgrade in the Kicking Horse Canyon,” said B.C. Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon. “This project is vital for travelers’ safety and for improving the flow of commercial goods through the corridor.”
CANYON HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION

CANYON HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION

Traffic flows on Phase I of Kicking Horse Canyon

Correspondent

KICKING HORSE CANYON

The federal and provincial government have jointly announced that the Phase I of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project, a major upgrade on the Trans-Canada Highway near Golden, B.C., is now officially open to traffic. The new section of highways was opened the first week of November and it show cases an award winning design and construction realized during the replacement of the Yoho Bridge on a stretch of roadway that cuts through what is considered the steepest part of the canyon.

“The Trans-Canada Highway is our most important gateway to the rest of Canada and the completion of Phase 1 is a major upgrade in the Kicking Horse Canyon,” said B.C. Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon. “This project is vital for travelers’ safety and for improving the flow of commercial goods through the corridor.”

The first phase of highway improvements replaced the pre-existing Yoho Bridge and upgraded 3.2 kilometres of the Trans-Canada Highway through Kicking Horse Canyon to a four-lane, 100 kilometres per hour standard. The federal government contributed $21.3 million toward the $70.8 million cost of the project with the rest coming from provincial coffers.

Phase 1 is the first of three phases that will complete the upgrade on the highway. The new Yoho Bridge that was replaced carries a Delta-frame bridge pier design. Project manager Tom Lowe for Urban Design, which was the prime consultant on the bridge project, said two designs were considered for the bridge.

One was of steel designed by Sandwell Engineering and expected to be the lowest cost alternative while a second design featured concrete and a Delta frame design submitted by Associated Engineering. The Delta frame is a Y-shaped girder. “While it is not unheard of (as a design feature), it is not all that common,” said Lowe.

However, Associated Engineering’s Delta frame concept was able to reduce the size of the griders and therefore reduce the material costs, nudging out the steel bridge. The bridge design and the work on the approaches won the Yoho Bridge design team an award of excellence from the Consulting Engineers of B.C. in 2005.

The team consisted of Associated Engineering subsidiary, Brybil Projects, and partners Urban Systems, Golder Associates, Sandwell Engineering and Northwest Hydraulics. Project challenges included the rugged and unstable terrain, the narrow canyon, avalanche and rockfall hazards, and the proximity of the Kicking Horse River and the Canadian Pacific Railway main line. In addition, the design had to facilitate maintaining traffic during the construction.

Phase 2 involves the replacement of Park Bridge and approximately six kilometres of highway. Construction is currently underway. Ministry of transportation communications manager Mike Long said Phase II is progressing well and piers for the bridge have been placed with the decking being put on. Estimates are that the work to widen the road has resulted in 19 million cubic metres of rock being moved out of the area and this second phase is several months ahead of schedule.

Jon Jensen, B.C.’s project manager for Phase II at the Kicking Horse Canyon office, said the final completion date is spring 2008 but it is expected that traffic could begin flowing as early as November of 2007.

Phase III presents a major challenge engineering and cost-wise as it could result in North America’s longest tunnel and tunneling is considered more expensive than road building.

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