Engineers and Geoscientists BC
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Kicking Horse Canyon Highway Improvement Project

Hosted by the Victoria Branch and VIES

Friday, May 3, 2024

11:30 AM–1:00 PM Pacific time


Eligible for 1 CE Hour(s) of Technical Learning

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Event Details


Engineers and Geoscientists BC Registrant Regular Price: $10.00 + GST

Non-Registrant Price: $10.00 + GST


For more information about this event, please contact the Victoria Branch

Event Presenter(s)

Bruce Hamersley, P.Eng., FEC
President, Principal Engineer, BASIS Engineering Ltd.

Bruce has 37 years of engineering experience with a focus on bridge design, soil-structure interaction, and construction engineering. His diverse design background includes design management of large transportation projects as both the owner’s engineer and contractor’s designer, highway and railway bridge designs, seismic retrofit and rehabilitation of major bridges, and construction engineering for bridge erection.

James Williams, M.Sc., P.Eng.
Lead Geotechnical Engineer, BASIS Engineering Ltd.

James Williams is a geotechnical engineer with expertise in the analysis and design of bridge foundations, dams, tunnels, heavy industrial buildings, and transportation infrastructure. His field experience includes planning and supervision of site investigations, geotechnical instrumentation installation, and construction monitoring. James also has experience in slope stability, settlement analysis, seismic analysis, liquefaction assessments, soil-structure interaction, tunnel design, shallow foundation design, and pile design.

About the Event

Kicking Horse Pass through the Rocky Mountains extends 80 kilometres between Golden, British Columbia and Lake Louise, Alberta. It is among the most breathtakingly scenic stretches on the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1). The Trans-Canada Highway and the Canadian Pacific Railway both run through the canyon to support the movement of national road and rail-based goods and tourism.

The Kicking Horse Canyon section of the Trans-Canada Highway – between Golden and Yoho National Park – was originally constructed in the mid-1950s with the Yoho (5-mile) and Park (10-Mile) bridges completed in 1956. The Kicking Horse Canyon Phase 4 (KHCP4) design-build project located just east of Golden BC was the culmination of a 25-year improvement programme. KHCP4 delivered improvements to the last and most difficult 4.8 km section of the existing Trans-Canada Highway. This treacherous section of roadway crosses a series of unstable slopes, active landslides, large ravines, and avalanche and rockfall paths. As part of the design team for the contractor, BASIS Engineering Ltd. provided a significant portion of the structural, geotechnical, and construction engineering. A key project objective was to improve the safety and stability of the roadway. The conventional solution to improve roadway stability on steep embankments is to use downslope retaining walls to support the roadway with stabilization pipe piles in front of the wall, often with additional horizonal steel rock anchors. The extreme conditions at this site were found to require very close pile spacing; additionally, the access for heavy piling and anchor installation equipment was very difficult. The possibility of triggering rockfalls onto the CP railway downslope of the project added to the safety concerns.

BASIS Engineering proposed an alternative structural solution of viaducts using accelerated bridge construction techniques. The design was adopted for a total of nine viaduct structures that totalled over 1.8 km of highway length, a significant portion of the entire project. Bruce Hamersley was the lead designer for the viaducts, and James Williams was the lead geotechnical engineer for the eastern third of the project.