Kootenay Pass upgrades planned

The province plans to implement new safety measures on Kootenay Pass.

The article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: May 17, 2012

In the Tuesday, May 15 front page story, “Kootenay pass upgrades planned,” the number quoted for the Highway 3 facelift was a little too generous. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure originally noted it was $3.7 million for the Kootenay Pass project, and $13 million overall for the four southern B.C. projects of which Hwy. 3 is part of.

Traffic will be slowed this summer on the nation’s highest all-season highway as the province plans to implement new safety measures on Kootenay Pass.

The $13-million project is expected to give the 1,774-metre high Highway 3 a face-lift to promote safety, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced Monday.

Beginning in August, the Kootenay Pass Summit to the east chain-up will be resurfaced, as part of the revitalization project, with single-lane alternating traffic expected while the work continues, said Kate Trotter, a communications and public engagement official with the ministry.

“Short waits of up to 20 minutes can be expected,” she said. “Drivers should plan their trips accordingly.”

Four new avalanche gates at the summit of Kootenay Pass will be attached to help aid traffic during road closures, with solar-powered chain-up signs at Lafterty Pit near Paulson Pass installed.

As well, passing and climbing lane signs with better reflectivity will go up to inform travelers about the passing lane length at Paulson Pass.

Paving in the Creston area will occur in September. On two-lane road sections there will be single-lane, alternating traffic controlled by flaggers for extended periods during the project.

In three- and four-lane sections there will be lane closures but very few traffic stoppages, said Trotter, as the additional lanes will allow traffic to pass workers.

“During construction we appreciate (people’s) patience … and ask that drivers observe speed limits, construction signs and flaggers’ directions as work is underway,” she said.

Milled pavement will create some dust in the are during the work, and normal pavement markings will be removed, as will guard rail and signage.