New Park Bridge opens at Kicking Horse Canyon



    GOLDEN, BC, Aug. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - The new Park Bridge along the
Trans-Canada Highway in Kicking Horse Canyon has been completed ahead of
schedule. The announcement was made today by Jim Abbott, MP for Kootenay -
Columbia on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport,
Infrastructure and Communities, and British Columbia Transportation
Minister Kevin Falcon.
    "This is a great day for the people of Golden and surrounding areas,"
said Mr. Abbott. "With the new bridge and highway upgrades, the safety and
efficiency of this important corridor have been substantially improved for the
thousands of motorists who use it every day."
    "The opening of this new bridge marks another milestone in the
development of British Columbia's key trade corridors," said Minister Cannon.
"In addition to improving safety and easing traffic congestion, the resulting
economic benefits and environmental improvements will have a positive impact
on local communities across the entire region."
    "The Kicking Horse Canyon portion of the Trans-Canada Highway is a vital
gateway to British Columbia and upgrading this key route has been our number
one transportation priority," said British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell.
"This fantastic new bridge and its approaches are a great example of the
federal and provincial governments working together with the private sector.
This historic section of highway is now safer and allows traffic to flow more
smoothly."
    Constructed under phase 2 of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project, the Park
Bridge is a 405-metre span featuring five piers reaching up as high as
90 metres. Approaches to the bridge and realignment of more than
5 kilometres (km) of new four-lane highway east of Golden have also been
completed. The rest of phase 2 work will be completed in January 2008.
    Under a partnership agreement, the Government of Canada provided up to
$62.5 million and the Province of British Columbia was responsible for the
remaining funding to complete the $130-million phase 2 project. The federal
contribution to phase 2 comes from the $4-billion Canada Strategic
Infrastructure Fund, which supports large-scale projects of major national and
regional significance in areas that are vital to sustaining economic growth
and supporting an enhanced quality of life for Canadians. The provincial
contribution to phase 2 is part of British Columbia's three-year $2.3-billion
transportation investment plan.
    Through a public-private partnership with the Province, the Trans-Park
Highway Group contributed funds to the Kicking Horse Canyon Project and is
responsible for its design and construction. It will maintain the highway for
the next 25 years.
    "This performance-based contract has provided great value for taxpayers
by combining stunning design work and top-notch construction along a very
problematic segment of the Trans-Canada Highway," said Minister Falcon. "I'm
delighted that the project is on budget and that the new Park Bridge is open
to traffic several months ahead of schedule."
    "We are absolutely thrilled to have played a role in completing this very
demanding component of the project safely and ahead of schedule," said
John McArthur, President of the Trans-Park Highway Group. "This is one of the
most demanding stretches of highway anywhere, and our team has been able to
open the road to motorists sooner than expected. It speaks to the power of
partnerships and what the public and private sectors can do when we combine
expertise from both sides."
    The first phase of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project, completed in 2006,
replaced the pre-existing Yoho Bridge and upgraded 3 km of the Trans-Canada
Highway to a four-lane, 100-km-per-hour standard. The federal government
committed $20.8 million toward the first phase of the project, with
$43.4 million provided by the Province of British Columbia.
    The $765-million phase 3 is a longer-term endeavor, involving complex
upgrading of approximately 17 km of the Trans-Canada Highway to four lanes.
This upgrade will include roadway realignment to improve traffic operations
and safety, and the reduction of rock fall hazards from Golden to Yoho
National Park. The B.C. Ministry of Transportation completed conceptual
planning studies in 2004 and preliminary engineering studies are underway.
Completion of phase 3 of the project is contingent on future federal
cost-sharing with the province.

    A backgrounder with further information about the Kicking Horse Canyon
Project is attached.


    Backgrounder
    ------------
    ------------

    
                         KICKING HORSE CANYON PROJECT
                         ----------------------------

    The Kicking Horse Pass through the Rocky Mountains was selected as the
route for the transcontinental railway that was built in the 1880s to open the
West to the rest of Canada and the world.
    In the mid-1950s, the Kicking Horse Canyon section of the Trans-Canada
Highway was constructed following the original railway line, with the Yoho
(5-Mile) and Park (10-Mile) bridges completed in 1956.
    The Kicking Horse Canyon Project involves upgrading the 26-kilometre (km)
section of the Trans-Canada Highway between Golden and the western boundary of
Yoho National Park, to a modern four-lane standard with a design speed of
100 km per hour. Additional upgrades include improved roadway alignments,
replacement of narrow bridge structures, and other design innovations to
reduce hazards.
    The route carries over 9,000 vehicles per day during the summer and
traffic is expected to increase by 50 per cent over the next 25 years.
Twenty four per cent is heavy truck traffic - five times the provincial
average.
    The estimated cost of the overall project (phases 1, 2 and 3) is
$960 million, and it is one of the province's top transportation priorities.

    Phase 1

    Phase 1 of the project included realignment of 3 km of highway approaches,
construction of a rock debris protection wall, and new twin bridges over the
Kicking Horse River and the CPR railway.
    Announced in July 2002, phase 1 was completed in the spring of 2006. The
Government of Canada committed $20.8 million through the Strategic Highway
Infrastructure Program. The Province of British Columbia contributed
$43.4 million toward the total cost of $64.2 million.

    Phase 2

    Phase 2 includes construction of the new Park Bridge, upgrading 6 km of
highway between the rest area and the commercial vehicle brake check at the
top of 10 Mile Hill east of Golden, and a new brake check, rest area and
recreational access point.
    The federal government committed $62.5 million toward the estimated total
cost of $130 million. Construction began in 2004 and is ahead of schedule,
with the new bridge and approaches opening on August 30, 2007. Phase 2 will be
complete in January 2008.
    Trans-Park Highway Group was selected in a competitive process to design,
build, partially finance, and maintain the highway. Trans-Park Highway Group
is composed of Bilfinger Berger BOT Inc., Flatiron Constructors Canada,
Parsons Overseas Company of Canada and HMC Services Inc.

    Phase 2 facts:

    - Number of workers:                      Approximately 175
    - Total material moved:                   2.8 million cubic metres
    - Structural steel:                       2.5 million kilograms
    - Granular materials:                     250,000 tonnes
    - Asphalt:                                50,000 tonnes
    - Concrete for piers:                     12,000 cubic metres
    - Rebar in footings and piers:            1.5 million kilograms
    - Length of new Park Bridge:              405 metres
    - Height of piers:                        Up to 90 metres

    Phase 3

    Phase 3 involves upgrading approximately 17 km of the Trans-Canada Highway
to four lanes, from Golden (Highway 95) to the west entrance of Yoho National
Park. Additional upgrades include roadway realignment to improve traffic
operations and safety, and the reduction of rock fall hazards. The estimated
cost of this phase is $765 million. A federal-provincial cost-sharing
agreement for this phase of the project is not yet in place.

                                                              August 2007
    




For further information:

For further information: Robert Duffus, Communications Director, B.C.
Ministry of Transportation, (250) 387-7787; Steve Small, Trans-Park Highway
Group, (905) 530-2114, www.bilfingerberger-bot.de; Natalie Sarafian, Press
Secretary, Office of the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and
Communities, Ottawa, (613) 991-0700; Kirsten Goodnough, Communications,  
Transport Canada, Ottawa, (613) 993-0055; Transport Canada is online at
www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe to news releases and speeches at
apps.tc.gc.ca/listserv/ and keep up-to-date on the latest from Transport
Canada. This news release may be made available in alternative formats for
persons with visual disabilities.


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