Cash for Kicking Horse

UPDATE: 2 p.m.

The federal and British Columbia governments have announced $469 million in upgrades to two stretches of Highway 1 through southeastern B.C., including a section that could be the most expensive stretch of road in Canada.

B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone says most of the funding, $450 million, is for improvements to a four-kilometre section of the Kicking Horse Canyon east of Golden.

At an estimated $110 million dollars per kilometre, Stone says the upgrades to Highway 1 through the canyon will likely make the roadwork the most expensive in provincial and Canadian history.

He defends the price, saying the short section of highway has a fatality rate three-times higher than the provincial average.

Work on the section west of Golden is expected to begin later this year, but engineering and other challenges linked to the Kicking Horse upgrade means construction won't start until 2019 and will take at least five years to complete.

"This will be one of the most technically challenging projects in our province's history," Stone says.

"Fundamentally, you are dealing with a very steep canyon on one side and a mountain on the other side, so there is a tremendous amount of blasting required and then the technical challenges come into play, in terms of do you tunnel, do you cantilever out," Stone says.

– The Canadian Press

ORIGINAL: 11 a.m.

Senior levels of government have earmarked about $450 million to upgrade the Kicking Horse Canyon portion of the Trans-Canada Highway.

The announcement was made Friday morning by federal Infrastructure and Communities Minister Amarjeet Sohi and provincial Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone.

The project will realign the highway and expand it to four lanes. It will also include median barriers and widening of the shoulders.

It will require a series of bridges, retaining walls, rock catchment ditches and other measures to reduce rock fall over the highway.

The two levels of government also announced $19.4 million to four lane a portion of Highway 1 west of Golden from Donald to Forde Station Road.

The province is investing $247 million, while the feds are kicking in $222 million.

"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," said Stone.

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