Knowledge CentreTechnical Resources SearchConference PapersTHE TRANS-CANADA HIGHWAY – A Major Link in Canada’s Transportation System

THE TRANS-CANADA HIGHWAY – A Major Link in Canada’s Transportation System


The Trans-Canada Highway (TCH) is one of the major Canadian transportation accomplishments of the last 100 years. It runs from coast to coast in a mainly east west direction. The Highway consists of a variety of highway types – rural two lane sections, rural and urban multi-lane sections, major streets in downtowns, urban freeways and encompasses major ferry crossings to Vancouver Island and Newfoundland. The original Trans-Canada Highway when completed in 1971 ran some 7,821 kilometres from St John’s Newfoundland to Nanaimo, British Columbia. It was the longest continuous highway in the world.
Today, travelling from coast to coast in Canada on a high standard highway is taken for granted but it wasn’t always so. This paper looks at the history of trans-Canadian travel before the Trans-Canada Highway Act in 1949 and the impact of the Act.
The paper also looks at design standards and focuses on the construction achievements – muskeg, gumbo and rock, the Rodgers Pass, Louis Hippolyte Lafontaine Tunnel and the paving of the entire highway.
There have been many additions to the TCH since the original project. The paper examines these additions and also speculates on the future of the Highway

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Road Construction History
MacLeod, D.
Construction, Maintenance and operations