During the 1970s, the bypass around downtown was built, taking a steep-climbing route from Valleyview east of the downtown and connecting to the hilltop Aberdeen neighbourhood, climbing 1000 feet (300m) in under 10 kilometres. When the Coquihalla Highway was built in the early 1980s, it connected to the Trans-Canada just west of Kamloops, sharing the #1 into the city.
Further upgrading of the portion of Highway 5 just north of Kamloops continued and late in 1984 a new four-lane bridge over the North Thompson River was officially opened. Costing $16.3 million, this impressive 450-metre structure provides a connection from North Kamloops to Highway 5.
In 2013, Trans Canada Highway expansion comes to a halt after more ancestral Secwepemc remains found. Newly unearthed remains of an 8,700 year old ancestor were found at the site of an ancient village, and the oldest to date found in BC. The location of the Sacred Fire is approximately 5 km west of the Pritchard store at one of the burial sites, the other burial site is approximately 2 km from the fire. There is also a very significant, Sacred site for Secwepemc, at Hoffman’s Bluff that is also at risk of being blown up.
A primary safety concern in this zone is Hoffman’s Bluff which is just west of Chase. A large $61.6M project was completed in 2016 which improves a 6 km portion of the Trans-Canada Highway leading up to Hoffman’s Bluff.
The bluff is constrained on all sides by the existing highway, large rock cuts, the railway, and river, and the only option was to blast away at the cliff on the south side of the highway to make room.
In the 2012-2016 period the 10.5 km section of Highway 1 west of Chase widened to four lanes and other improvements including construction of a median, paved shoulders and turn lanes.
At Chase, at the western end of Shuswap Lake, a bridge over the Trans-Canada highway takes traffic to the north side of Shuswap Lake. The cottages on the north shore are on land leased from the local band of the Shuswap First Nation.
The Adams River, an important salmon spawning waterway, is also accessed via this bridge is a major salmon river in the region.
Between Chase and Salmon Arm
In 2001, Four-laning of 2.8 km of highway and intersection improvements at Notch Hill Road along Highway 1 between Chase and Salmon Arm.
In 2011, the four-laning of 4.8 km of highway near Chase was completed, including side road improvements, new interchange and upgrades to at-grade intersections.
In 2004 four-laning of 4.2 km of highway was completed, with reconstruction of White Lake Road intersection, including grade separation and improvements to 3.1 km of frontage roads between Chase and Salmon Arm.
In 2006, Urban highway improvements through Salmon Arm including upgrades to and realignment of 4 km between 6th Street NE and Highway 97B to a four-lane design standard.
Along Shuswap Lake, the route of the Trans-Canada was squeezed alongside the southern shore of the lake, alongside the railway route through the region. The two lane road connected many tourist towns that grew nicely from the increased traffic across the country.
Shuswap Lake has over 1000 kilometers of shoreline, and provides excellent access for boating, camping, swimming and houseboating.
The challenge faced now is that increase vehicular and truck traffic is overwhelming the ear’s two-lane road, and requires four lanes (as already goes through Salmon Arm), without destroying most highway-side commercial properties smaller communities, or in some case the water-front properties in others.
Sicamous Bridge Replacement
The “RW Bruhn Bridge” project involves four laning approximately 1.9 km of Highway 1 in Sicamous, costing $464 million. The total project length is 2.45 km and includes replacement of the existing R.W. Bruhn Bridge with a new crossing and intersection improvements between Old Sicamous Road and Silver Sands Road.
The new five-lane bridge will feature acceleration and deceleration lanes at Old Spallumcheen Road, a new roadway passing under the bridge to increase connectivity and a multi-use path to increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists. The project will also include intersection improvements between Old Sicamous Road and Silver Sands Road. After extensive consultation, analysis and field work, the five-lane one-bridge design was chosen over the two-bridge option, which would have included a four-lane structure at the existing site and an additional Main Street bridge.
The results of archaeological field work and the cultural significance of the project area has guided the ministry’s decision to advance the one-bridge design, given the need to minimize impacts.
Design work is expected to take approximately two years, with early construction activities anticipated to begin in 2020.
The RW Bruhn Bridge Replacement Project is part of the ministry’s Highway 1 Kamloops to Alberta Border Four-Laning Program. In Budget 2018, the Province committed $464 million to the program over the next three years.