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  • divided highway to the coast

    I know this is a little out of this forum's range but Edmonton is suffering because of a key missing infrastructure link. It would sure be nice if B.C. twinned hwy 5 north of Kamloops to the Alberta border and if we finished hwy 16 to meet it. I realize it is a monumental project but so was the Coquihalla.
    A 4 lane highway to the coast would allow more trucks to utilize the lower grades of the Yellowhead Pass and would greatly improve our competetive situation.
    I was thinking the Alberta Government could provide low rate or interest free loans to B.C. to spur this on.
    Any guesses as to how receptive the Calgary provincial government would be to this idea?

  • #2


    My goodness, but this keeps coming up. ...and I will get slammed here but...

    The Yellowhead is the most underappreciated passes in Canada - until recently. One stat I hear over and over again is that it is only ~200 kms longer from Winnipeg to Vancouver using this route, but that the greatly lower grades (2 large ones on TCH16/5 vs 16 on TCH1), higher speed limits (100 km/h average vs 70 km/h average), the lower grades being way more friendly to brakes and fuel consumption, and the fact that the TCH 16/5 has faster and easier access to both Vancouver and Prince Rupert (the next big port) makes the TCH 16/5 the preferred route for many truckers.

    Not to mention that the reality of the TCH 5 being in river valleys that are so much easier to twin makes this road an ideal candidate to be done immediately.

    I know the Alberta/BC government thought of having a highway in the middle from Red Deer to Clearwater/Barierre through Saskatchewan Crossing in order to shorten this route, but I have to ash what the heck for? That would be Coquihalla-style carving whereupon TCH 16/5, well, God/nature/glaciers did the work for us.

    So, to look at this route from a Mapblast perspective, here is what I get...


    Route summary
    Start: Edmonton, Alberta
    End: Vancouver, BC

    Total distance: 1157.8 km
    Estimated time: 12 Hours, 25 Minutes

    Route summary
    Start: Calgary, Alberta
    End: Vancouver, BC

    Total distance: 972.3 km
    Estimated time: 11 Hours, 16 Minutes

    Route summary
    Start: Winnipeg, Manitoba
    End: Vancouver, BC

    Total distance: 2296 km
    Estimated time: 25 Hours, 3 Minutes (TCH1 all the way)

    Route summary
    Start: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    End: Edmonton, Alberta

    Total distance: 1352.1 km
    Estimated time: 14 Hours, 1 Minute

    Add the trip to Vancouver (1157.8 ), and you get 2509.9 in about 26 1/2 hours for a difference of 213.9 km and about an hour and a half.

    So, the claims I hear are legitimate. I know the Edmonton to Vancouver route is a little faster than the advertised 12 1/2 hours for a car that does not stop for pee breaks, and that the advertised time for the Calgary/Vancouver route assumes faster speeds than what is possible for much of the passes (windy low speed roads combined with traffic volumes), so I'll be willing to be the times are closer to an hour difference. From personal experience, I know I "raced" a friend of mine to Abbotsford (he in Calgary, and I in Edmonton), and we arrived at Merritt at the same time. He was getting out of his car to go to the A&W when I pulled up. GPS trackers verified that we both never exceeded 10% of the posted limit. He was delayed by an average speed of 78km/h and Revelstoke delays while I had a 110 average.

    Our fuel consumption (Camaro vs Mustang) were identical for all intents and purposes (1 fuel stop each)

    So, with the added benefit of Prince Rupert, negligible time differences to Vancouver with a single lane highway, a God-carved route, low grades (the highest point is Obed outside Hinton), and easier wear and tear on vehicles, this route is a no brainer to twin.

    With some careful planning, you could further reduce the distance by slight route modifications between Clearwater and Blue River and possibly between Jasper and Valemont. That adds expense, but probably still less than the blasting of a new Highway 11 or full twinning of TCH1.

    Would the Province be onside? They really don't have to be - Highway 16 in ALBERTA is already twinned to the park gates. The rest is BC and the Feds. THEY are the issue, and with more votes in Golden, Revelstoke, and the like vs Valemont, Blue River, Avola, Clearwater, and Barierre - it seems unlikely UNLESS Prince Rupert changes their mind.
    President and CEO - Airshow.

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    • #3
      Re: divided highway to the coast

      Originally posted by ralph60
      Calgary provincial government
      Would be REALLY funny if it weren't true.
      [email protected][email protected]: the 5th Horseman of the Apocalypse

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      • #4
        Originally posted by RichardS
        I know the Alberta/BC government thought of having a highway in the middle from Red Deer to Clearwater/Barierre through Saskatchewan Crossing in order to shorten this route, but I have to ash what the heck for? That would be Coquihalla-style carving whereupon TCH 16/5, well, God/nature/glaciers did the work for us.
        I think the proposal for the Howse pass route has it following the Blaeberry river to join highway 1 about 20 km northwest of Golden. It would shorten the trip to the coast by about 100km only for central Alberta residents, but would shorten trip to the southeast interior (including the Okanagan and Shuswap) by about the same amount for anyone in or north of Red Deer.

        Regarding BC highway 5 north, I don't see anything happening to it except maybe for a few passing lanes for a long time. There is far more traffic on highway 1 and most of the meager portion of the BC highways budget that gets spent in the interior will go there. The biggest bottleneck between here and the coast isn't highway 5 anyways, it's highway 16 through Jasper.

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        • #5
          I realize it is a monumental project but so was the Coquihalla.
          Don't forget that the cost for the Coquihalla is covered by the tolls we pay to use it.

          Besides the bottleneck in Jasper and the canyon route in Robson Park, another major issue with the Yellowhead is the relative lack of services and attractions between Kamloops and Valemount. Last time I drove the #5 from Kamloops, I almost ran out of gas because most of the stations in the one-horse towns closed early (I barely made it to Blue River).

          At least with the Trans-Canada #1 there are several large centres such as Golden, Revelstoke and Salmon Arm. There's Rogers Pass, the Shuswaps, a couple of smaller national parks and several tourist-y attractions along the way. And who hasn't been to the Enchanted Forest?

          Hopefully a twinned Yellowhead from Kamloops to Hinton can spur some more services and development along the route.

          BTW, does anyone know why the Yellowhead #5 isn't designated as a Trans-Canada Highway?
          “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Sonic Death Monkey
            Besides the bottleneck in Jasper and the canyon route in Robson Park, another major issue with the Yellowhead is the relative lack of services and attractions between Kamloops and Valemount. Last time I drove the #5 from Kamloops, I almost ran out of gas because most of the stations in the one-horse towns closed early (I barely made it to Blue River).
            I kind of like the "outback" nature of highway 5. I fill up in Hinton (heading southwest) or Kamloops (heading northeast) and drive the two lane section in one stretch.

            If anyone is heading to the Shuswap area, I drove my saturn SL1 over the logging road on the west side of Adams lake two weeks ago without any problems. Going that way, Salmon Arm is only 110 km from Barriere and all but 20 km is paved, making the highway 16/5 route a reasonable alternative to the highway 2/1 route.

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            • #7
              SDM - there are 24 hour gas stations all along the route, in Barierre, Blue River, and Valemont. In an Avalanche, I can do Edmonton to Kamloops on one tank, but I fill in Jasper for good measure. I have though stopped at the many HUSKY's along the way for a late night java and a sub.

              T48 - yes, Jasper is a big bottleneck, but given the national park, I don't expect any changes there. As for the BC highway budget, yes, the bulk of their money is on 1, 3, and 97. However, with YPR, this will change. Plus, a little AB lobbying couldn't hurt.

              Oh, and for a twinned TCH 16/5, I'd pay another $10 toll.
              President and CEO - Airshow.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by RichardS
                SDM - there are 24 hour gas stations all along the route, in Barierre, Blue River, and Valemont. In an Avalanche, I can do Edmonton to Kamloops on one tank, but I fill in Jasper for good measure. I have though stopped at the many HUSKY's along the way for a late night java and a sub.
                True, but I figure that if the choices were Husky subs along #5 vs Timmy Hos, Smittys and Rotten Ronnies in Revelstoke and Golden, many people will choose the latter. Ditto for the choice of hotels and motels on those routes.

                And although some of us are willing to pay a $10 toll for a twinned #5, I can't help but wonder if that will only push more people down to #1, which means that more cross-country road tourists will choose to pass through Banff and Calgary instead of Jasper and Edmonton.

                The Yellowhead is supposed to be a branch of the Trans-Canada Highway and it should be treated as such. That means that the entire leg from Kamloops to Winnipeg should be twinned. The Yellowhead #5 from Kamloops needs to be a designated TCH (nobody's answered my question yet as to why it's not), and the towns along there need to grow and prosper as tourist stops instead of truck stops (Blue River is the mid-way point between Van and Edm).
                “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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                • #9
                  I heard that they were planning to build a ski resort in Valemont a little over a year ago.
                  Edmonton first, everything else second.

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                  • #10
                    They are. The development along 5 is just starting to take hold.

                    SDM - on a road trip, all I care about is some food and some coffee. I like the Haygaard Lumbejacks...so I guess I am weird. They are not far off the Smittys crap and timmy ho's slop we like too. After all, my destination is Peachland or Vancouver, NOT Blue River or Revelsotke. Just get me to the Okanogan already!

                    As for a Toll, if that were true, then the old #1 through Grande Cache would be abuzz with traffic and the Coq dead. I'll bet sooner than later a Toll appears on 1 as well - twinning that is getting uber $$$$$$$$$$$. No, the Coq is busy and people will pay for fast and maintained access.
                    President and CEO - Airshow.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RichardS
                      SDM - on a road trip, all I care about is some food and some coffee. I like the Haygaard Lumbejacks...so I guess I am weird. They are not far off the Smittys crap and timmy ho's slop we like too. After all, my destination is Peachland or Vancouver, NOT Blue River or Revelsotke. Just get me to the Okanogan already!
                      That's you, but most people in this country cannot survive without their Timmy Hos and their Rotten Ronnies and their Holiday Inns and their resorts and their hot springs and their roadside attractions.

                      I guess what I've been trying to say is that the Yellowhead route between Edmonton and Kamloops is kinda boring and desolate in relative comparison to the #1 route via Banff. The Yellowhead route needs to attract more drivers and the towns along the route need to grow. Only then would a twinned #5 work.

                      As for a Toll, if that were true, then the old #1 through Grande Cache would be abuzz with traffic and the Coq dead. I'll bet sooner than later a Toll appears on 1 as well - twinning that is getting uber $$$$$$$$$$$. No, the Coq is busy and people will pay for fast and maintained access.
                      Grande Cache?? You mean Cache Creek, do you not?

                      But here's an idea: seeing that the Coquihalla is now a Yellowhead Highway, maybe they should use the toll money to twin the Kamloops-Valemount route. After all, one would think that the tolls would have paid off the Coquihalla already.

                      .
                      “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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                      • #12
                        Hate to take this somewhere it wasn't intended to go, but am I the only one who hates the lack of food choices at gas stations on long hauls? I can eat healthy everywhere else I travel and in every-other circumstance I put myself in, except for extended travel by car. Where is our answer to these bio-diesel gas stations in California that serve decent food? (maybe we don't have enough granola crunchers to warrant this?) Sorry, just some thoughts from my last trip to the interior.

                        EDIT: food is my point here, not bio-diesel.
                        Shameless Urbanophile

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RichardS
                          As for a Toll, if that were true, then the old #1 through Grande Cache would be abuzz with traffic and the Coq dead. I'll bet sooner than later a Toll appears on 1 as well - twinning that is getting uber $$$$$$$$$$$. No, the Coq is busy and people will pay for fast and maintained access.
                          The Fraser canyon highway is still busy though, with truckers looking to avoid the steep grades and $50 truck toll as well as tourists looking for a scenic route. Economically, it is cheaper to drive the extra 100 km unless you vehicle is a serious gas guzzler. The only cost is time. The Hope-Princeton highway is pretty busy as well, it only adds 60 km to take highways 3 and 5a from Hope to the 97c on the way from the coast to the Okanagan. The third alternative is to take the Sea to Sky highway from Cache Creek. I've gone that way a few times en route to Squamish.

                          As for tolls on highway 1, it does look like there will be a toll on the Port Mann bridge after it gets upgraded, but I don't know about anywhere else. The feds put up a lot of the cash for the kickinghorse project, twinning west of Golden will be relatively easy and much of the rest is in national parks. BC's tolling policy also requires that there be a "reasonable untolled alternative".

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                          • #14
                            The sad thing about the Yellowhead route is that it was the preferred one over the southern route for the CPR. Unlike the white-knuckle drive on Hwy.1 the drive down Hwy. 16/5 is just relaxing.

                            I can see making it 4 lanes through Jasper and B.C., as the only thing that'll slow things down is the wildlife around Jasper townsite.

                            I think the reason that it won't be looked at for a long time by both the B.C. and federal governments is that both look at Central and Northern B.C. and Alberta as being the piggy banks for the Calgary and Lower Mainland areas. And, who does anything to improve their piggy banks, anyways.

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                            • #15
                              having driven this just this past weekend....i completely agree......


                              Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

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