Fernie’s Highway traffic will significantly increase this April 12 to May 14, 2021 when the Kicking Horse Canyon traffic is rerouted for construction.
The Kicking Horse Canyon, located just east of Golden, BC, is one of the most rugged and scenic sections to be found on the Trans-Canada Highway. As a tourist and commercial transportation corridor, the highway carries more than 10,000 vehicles daily during the summer. While the mix varies by season, up to 30% of the traffic consists of commercial vehicles moving millions of dollars in goods to serve interprovincial and international trade. Three phases of work have transformed 21 kilometres of narrow, winding two-lane highway into a modern four-lane, 100 km/h standard.
The challenge of this work is substantial, and will involve significant traffic disruptions ranging from 20-minute stoppages to overnight closures and even multi-day closures during off-peak shoulder seasons. The first extended closure (requiring motorists to use Highways 93 and 95 as an alternative route) will have a duration of approximately one month, from April 12 to May 14, 2021.
A huge portion of the rerouted Trans-Canada Highway traffic will choose Highway #3, perhaps 100% of the commercial long-haul, as it will be the shortest and most efficient route to the coast.
Construction of the fourth and final phase to complete the remaining – and most difficult – 4.8 kilometres is expected to be substantially complete in winter 2023-24. This will be another permanent closure.
We are fortunate that the closure will be during the spring and not the busier summer months however, the traffic increase will still be substantial.