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Past-Present-Future of the Trans-Canada Highway in BC from Kamloops to the Alberta Border


transportation network that connects our coastlines. The historical importance of the highway is
best described in the words of our past Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. On the official opening
day of the TCH in Rogers Pass on September 3, 1962, he stated:
“This highway, may it serve to bring Canadians closer together, may it bring to all Canadians a
renewed determination to individually do their part to make this nation greater and greater still
? I express the hope and the prayer today that this highway will always serve the cause of
peace, that it will never hear the marching tramp of warlike feet.”
The opening of the TCH in Rogers Pass, between Revelstoke and Golden in British Columbia,
was no mistake. It may have been logical to host the official opening at either coast, but the
opening at Rogers Pass was a tribute to the engineering feat to complete the section of highway
between Kamloops and the Alberta Border.
The unique issues and constraints that contribute to past, present and future design and
construction challenges revolve around the impressive mountain ranges and river valleys and
adjacent railways. These translate into design considerations such as avalanches, slope
stability, floods, the environment and stakeholders.
The collision and unplanned closures statistics speak to the fact that this stretch of highway is
arguably the hardest to build. Using 2005 – 2012 data, there were an average of 522 collisions
and 64 unplanned closures per year. The BC Government has an initiative to 4 lane the TCH
from Kamloops to the Alberta Border. An investment of $700 Million has been undertaken
towards this initiative from 2001 – 2012; after this investment there are still more kilometres of 2
lane highway between the Kamloops Alberta Border than there is between the BC/Alberta
Border and Ontario. Improvements are necessary to aid our nation’s economy in the movement
of people and goods. Over the next 10 years an additional $650 Million investment is planned
for this segment of the TCH.
In the context of the conference theme, this paper focuses on the “Past, Present and Future” of
the TCH between Kamloops and the Alberta Border. It will recap the history of the TCH and the
drivers to improve safety, mobility, and reliability. The paper will highlight the engineering
achievements from the past, and provide an outlook into future designs and associated
engineering challenges.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Geometric Design - Present Challenges
Pellam, A.
Dacho, F.
Sloan, Z.
Geometric design