Minister wraps up successful northern tour (flickr.com)

Media Contacts

Government Communications and Public Engagement

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
250 356-8241

Backgrounders

Northern highway projects taking shape

1. Highway 16 passing lanes and Terrace intersection improvement

  • $37.7 million in new funding through a provincial and federal partnership will add five new passing lanes on Highway 16 and upgrade the intersection with Highway 37.
  • The five passing lanes will be built at various locations between Prince Rupert and Prince George:
    • Rainbow Hill, 30 kilometres east of Prince Rupert
    • Toboggan Lake near Smithers
    • Tyhee Lake, east of Telkwa between Houston and Smithers
    • Broman Lake near Burns Lake
    • Cluculz Lake Hill, about 40 kilometres west of Prince George.
  • Government is working toward getting the first two built in 2017 and the rest in 2018.

2. Highway 16 – Bunce to Blackwater four-laning funding

  • The federal and provincial governments are investing $24 million to four-lane Highway 16 from Bunce Road to 200 metres east of Jensen Road. The project is going to tender in December 2016.
  • Highway 16 will be four-laned for 3.4 kilometres between the Bunce Road and Gauthier Road intersection to approximately 200 metres east of Jensen Road.
  • This will extend the existing four-laning of Highway 16 from the junction of Highway 16 and 97 to east of Jensen Road.
  • The project also includes upgrades to the intersections at Bunce and Gauthier roads, Haldi Road, Buckingham and at Blackwater and Sykes roads.
  • Construction will begin in summer 2017, and completion is planned for fall 2018.
  • The Cluculz Hill passing lane project is part of a $37.7-million partnership with the federal government to build five passing lanes on Highway 16.
  • The Cluculz Hill project will be a 1.7km extension of the existing climbing lane and includes improvements to the Lloyd Drive intersection at that location.
  • Design on the project has begun and we will be consulting with the local community to get their input. Construction is expected to get underway in 2018.

3. Nass River Bridge

  • The Government of Canada and the B.C. government will invest in a new two-lane bridge to replace the single-lane timber structure over the Nass River on Highway 37.
  • The estimated cost of the project is $24 million.
  • The new bridge will be a modern, two-lane, steel and concrete structure, built specifically to be able to support the transport of very large and heavy loads from the industrial sector.
  • The new bridge will be designed for two lanes of highway traffic with wider shoulders to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Construction is expected to begin in fall 2017.

4. Tseax 80 Bridge to Nisga’a and maintenance contract

  • The ministry will be replacing the Ksi Sii Aks (Tseax 80) Bridge on Highway 113 with work getting underway next spring.
  • The existing single lane structure was identified as a priority for replacement by the Nisga’a Lisims Government. It will be replaced with a new two-lane clear span bridge crossing the Ksi Sii Aks (Tseax 80) River.
  • Another improvement the ministry has made on Highway 113 is upgrading the winter maintenance classification level, meaning more maintenance and quicker response times on the highway.
  • The change took effect last winter and, since then, there have been more frequent patrols, more snow removal, and salt and sand applications on the highway.

5. Parsnip River Bridge

  • The Government of Canada and Government of B.C. will contribute to the $31.6-million replacement of the Parsnip River Bridge near Mackenzie, improving safety and capacity on Highway 97 North. The Province’s share is $18 million.
  • The 185-metre steel truss bridge, constructed in 1953, will be replaced with a new structure that can handle larger transport vehicles. The new bridge will eliminate height restrictions and will be wider and have a greater load capacity to allow the movement of heavy loads required to service the resource sectors in the north, like mining, forestry and oil and gas.
  • The project is expected to go to tender in 2017, with completion scheduled for summer 2019.

6. Heart of the Hazelton Arena project

  • Funding is now secured from both the provincial and federal governments to build a new $16-million recreation complex and wellness centre in the Hazeltons– called the Heart of the Hazeltons.
  • The Province is contributing up to $4 million and the Government of Canada is contributing $8 million.
  • Along with this contribution from the federal and provincial governments, local partners have raised an additional $4 million in funding which will help make this project a reality.
  • Once built, this new recreation centre will help address the health, employment and economic needs of the people of the Hazeltons area.

7. Prince Rupert arterial re-paving

  • Just over four kilometres of the arterial will be paved with an estimated $4.5-million investment in the project.
  • This stretch of road is a key part of the city’s downtown area and paving this section of the arterial will improve access from the ferry terminal to central Prince Rupert.
  • The re-paving project is scheduled for tender in early 2017.

8. Highway 16 Action Plan update

  • Transit expansion - BC Transit is finalizing the details of routes, schedules and fares, following a 30-day public consultation period with engagement events in over 20 communities.
  • Community transportation operating and capital grant program - The ministry has extended the deadline to receive applications to 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 28, 2016. Once the grants are determined, this new community transportation program will get underway.
  • First Nations Driver Education Program - Following an RFP process on BC Bid, the ministry has selected Carrier Sekani Family Services to deliver the First Nations Driver Education Program. The program will get underway later this fall, in large and small communities along the corridor.
  • Webcams and transit shelters - All-weather bus shelters are starting to go up in several communities, along with bus stops. The bus shelters have been designed for durability in all four seasons, with protective shelter from rain and snow conditions, a bench, and good visibility from the street. Three new webcam views have been activated in Smithers, with more webcams planned for 2017, to increase safety.
  • Collaboration - An integrated mapping exercise is completed, which reviewed medical transportation needs, data and travel patterns along the Highway 16 corridor, to identify good opportunities to better coordinate services to First Nations communities. Next, the working group will map new or potential transportation capacity to assist in illustrating system linkages and opportunities.

9. Wi-Fi in rest areas

  • Twenty-five rest areas throughout the province will have Wi-Fi installed. The following rest areas will have Wi-Fi installed by the spring of 2017, with the additional 20 sites being delivered in the coming years.
    • Britton Creek        Highway 5 – 67 kilometres South of Merritt
    • Mt. Terry Fox         Highway 16 – 6 kilometres East of Tete Jaune
    • Galena Bay            Highway 23 – 49 kilometres North of Nakusp
    • Glacier View         Highway 16 – 7 kilometres North of Smithers
    • Taylor River          Highway 4 – 37 kilometres West of Port Alberni

 10. Mile 28 tender/design

  • The Highway 16 CNR Mile 28 Grade Separation project is being cost-shared with the Government of Canada contributing up to $17.5 million and the Government of British Columbia providing the remaining $19.5 million.
  • Work will involve: 
    • realigning approximately two kilometres of Highway 16;
    • replacing the current level rail crossing with a new 120-metre-long bridge to carry traffic over the CN railway line;
    • wider driving lanes and shoulders; and
    • extensive rock bolting to minimize rock fall hazards.
  • The tender is expected to be posted on BC Bid by the end 2016 and the Province expects to select the contractor in January 2017.
  • The project will likely begin construction in spring 2017 and is expected to be completed in summer 2019.