Leaders of all political stripes are applauding the federal and BC government for their announcement of $469.4 million to expand and upgrade two major sections of the Trans-Canada Highway.
Mayor Mark McKee, who was in Kamloops on Friday for the official announcement by Transportation Minister Todd Stone and Amarjeet Sohi, the federal minister of Infrastructure and Communities said the decision was good news for every community that relies on the highway.
Upgrades to the Kicking Horse Canyon project accounts for $450 million, while the Donald-to-Forde Station section of highway accounts for over $19.4 million. 1,400 jobs are expected to be created by the two-year project.
“I want to thank the BC Liberal government for their commitment to this project, and for working cooperatively with the federal government to get this done,” added Revelstoke Mayor Mark McKee.
MLA Norm Macdonald (NDP – Columbia River Revelstoke) also lauded the federal and provincial governments’ decision to pour money into badly needed upgrades on the highway between Revelstoke and Golden, and in the Kicking Horse Canyon.
“This is clearly very good news for Golden, and we’ve been fighting for this upgrade for a long time,” Macdonald said in a statement. “As mayor of Golden (between 1996 and 1999), I met with the federal minister to highlight the importance of this project, and I’ve continued to fight for improvements to the highway ever since.”
As the MLA for Columbia River Revelstoke over the last 12 years, Macdonald has rarely missed an opportunity to bring up this issue in the Legislature or to individual ministers.
“It is a long time coming,” he said. “But it will bring economic benefits not only to Golden but to the whole region. It means safer, more dependable highways. And it is the right thing to do.”
McKee also said he wanted to thank Doug Clovechok, the BC Liberals’ candidate for Columbia River Revelstoke in the upcoming May 9 election, “for helping our community of Revelstoke and our region make this project a reality through his tireless advocacy on our behalf.”
For his part, Clovechok said it is “important that residents and visitors can trust that Highway 1 is safe and reliable, which is why I have been working with local government leaders to advocate for these much-needed improvements. I am known as a scrapper when it comes to issues I take on, but also I know the way to get things done is to do more listening than talking.”
Highway 1 through Kicking Horse Canyon will be realigned and expanded to four lanes with median barriers and widened shoulders. Improving this section will also require a combination of bridges, retaining walls, rock catchment ditches and other measures to reduce rock fall hazards. Work on the second section of the TCH approximately 20 kilometres west of Golden, from Donald to Forde Station Road, will involve expanding the highway to four lanes and improving access at the weigh scale.
Once completed, these projects will improve safety, access and traffic flow for local residents, tourists and commercial drivers.
“The Trans-Canada Highway is our province’s main connection between the Pacific Gateway and the rest of Canada, and the growth of our economy and communities depends on having a strong transportation network,” Stone said in a statement. “Thanks to our valuable partnerships with Canada, local communities and First Nations, these projects will help traffic move more safely and efficiently, communities will be better connected, and businesses can distribute their products efficiently throughout the province, as well as to our ports and borders beyond.”
Sohi said the project will help “connect people and create jobs that help grow the middle class. This major transportation infrastructure project will benefit local businesses, residents and tourists alike, while fostering long-term prosperity across the region for generations to come.”
- For work through Kicking Horse Canyon, the government of Canada will provide up to $215,198,500 through the New Building Canada Fund – National Infrastructure Component. The government of British Columbia will match the federal contribution and provide $19,603,000 to cover additional related project expenses.
- For work From Donald to Forde Station, the federal government will provide up to $7,270,000, through the Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component – National and Regional Projects. The government of British Columbia will match the federal contribution and provide $4,860,000 to cover additional related project expenses.
- The total project costs are estimated at over $469 million, for which the Victoria is providing up to $247 million, and Ottawa is providing up to $222 million.
- The federal government will provide more than $180 billion in infrastructure funding over 12 years for public transit, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, transportation that supports trade, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.
- The Trans-Canada Highway corridor sees up to 12,000 vehicles per day, 15% of which are heavy trucks carrying between $24 billion and $32 billion per year in commercial goods.