Sicamous was originally Eagle Pass Landing, and was a construction base for the Canadian Pacific Railroad on its last sprint east toward Craigallachie. It grew as a base for farmers and for gold prospectors.
The valley east of Sicamous, Eagle Pass was discovered in 1865 by Walter Moberly, a government surveyor searching for a railway path to Revelstoke. Eagle Pass separates the Columbia watershed from the Thompson-Fraser to the west.
In recent years it has brown as a major houseboating capital (its proximity to land-locked Calgary being a great feature) and a gas/service and accomodation stop along the Trans Canada Highway.
During World War II, several Japanese Internment Camps were set up in the area, to resettle Canadians of Japanese descent or origin away from coastal areas, fearing an imminent Japanese Invasion (something the Canadian govenrment has since apologized for, since they applied that only to those of Japaense origin, but not those of German or Italian origin). Several Road work camps were set up between Sicamous and Revelstoke to improve that very rough highway. There were five internment/work camps set up (from west to east) at Solsqua, Yard Creekl, North Fork (near Craigellachie), Taft, Griffin Lake, Three Valley Gap, and outside Revelstoke. Over 2 years nd 4 months they improved, aligned, and reconstructed about 44.5 miles of the Trans Canada Highway westward from Revelstoke.
Sicamous RW Bruhn Bridge Upgrade
The existing two-lane Bruhn Bridge. at Sicamous, was build in 1952. The community is considering wider lane bridge alternatives to reduce collisions at the Old Spalumcheen Road junction (to the west of the bridge) and improve access into Sicamous and south to Highway 97 into the Okanagan. The new bridge construction starts in 2020 and should continue into 2022.
As part of upgrading the #1 Trans Canada Highway between Kamloops and Alberta, the Sicamous area is getting approximately 1.9 km of Highway 1 four-laning, a replacement of the existing R.W. Bruhn Bridge with a new four-lane bridge, and intersection improvements between Old Sicamous Road and Silver Sands Road. This $225 million project has been tendered and may be completed in 2025. New interesections/highway exits and onramps will greatly improve safety for the variety of vehicles accessing the highway in the Sicamous area.
Between 6-11,000 vehicles cross the Malakwa Bridge every day, with commercial vehicles making up about 30 per cent of all traffic. Four-laning of a 2.7 km section of highway 30 km east of Sicamous.
The 60-year-old two-lane Malakwa Bridge, east of Sicamous, was replaced with a $16.4 million dollar four-lane structure, completed in 2016.
Three Valley Gap
Three Valley Gap is located southwest of Revelstoke, just west of the summit of Eagle Pass. This stretch of the Trans-Canada is interesting because the highway winds along the shoreline of the lake. At the base of steep, if not vertical, cliffs.
One of the most active avalanche locations along the Trans-Canada route is at Three Valley Gap (that and Rogers Pass), causing wintertime travel disruptions between Craigellachie and Revelstoke. Interestingly the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says, a snowshed is not feasible at Three Valley Gap, saying that “The bedrock will not [adequately] support the size of snowshed that would be required at this site to address avalanche and rockfall hazards,” in a statement.
Currently, avalanche mitigation here involves dropping explosives from helicopters to initiate avalanches, which can only be done while the highway is closed, only during daylight hours, and with favourable weather. This leads to extended overnight closures. Eight new separate Remote Avalanche Control Systems (RACS) will be installed and tested for avalanche control on a 24-hour basis throughout the winter. Operators can fire the charges remotely for avalanche control at any time, under any weather conditions. The RACS will be installed at key locations along the south side of Three Valley Lake.
Trans Canada Highway Itinerary Map