The Kicking Horse Canyon portion of the Trans Canada Highway has recently been closed for construction but it will reopen briefly this holiday weekend.
From noon on Friday, Oct. 7 to noon on Tuesday, Oct. 11, that portion of the highway will welcome travellers, the Ministry of Transportation said.
Then it’s back to an extended closure until Dec. 1 at 6 a.m., and motorists will have to take the alternate route via highways 95 and 93.
The alternate route of highways 93S and 95 adds an extra 1.5 hours or so to the typical “through” trip between Castle Junction, east of Lake Louise, Alta., and Golden, B.C.
“Highway 93S from Castle Junction to Radium Hot Springs through Kootenay National Park features the Parks Canada driving experience of beautiful vistas and abundant wildlife. To protect wildlife and people, Parks Canada applies and enforces an annual no-stopping zone in late spring as bears emerge from hibernation between Settler’s Road and McKay Creek Operations Centre above the Radium hot pools,” the ministry said in a statement.
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Highway 95 from Radium to Golden is a scenic rural highway, with limited passing opportunities, frequent wildlife sightings and hidden driveways, in addition to the presence of school buses and children.
As such, RCMP will be out enforcing travel rules when the diversion is in place.
The Kicking Horse Canyon, located just east of Golden, B.C., carries more than 10,000 vehicles daily during the summer.
Three phases of work have transformed 21 kilometres of the narrow, winding two-lane highway into a modern four-lane, 100-km/h standard.
Construction of the fourth and final phase to finish the remaining – and most difficult – 4.8 kilometres is expected to be substantially complete in winter 2023-24.