Public agitation for a national road began as early as 1910, but more than half a century elapsed before it was completed. The 7821 km Trans-Canada Hwy was formally opened at ROGERS PASS on 30 July 1962. Canadians could now drive, using ferry services on both coasts, from St John's, Nfld, to Victoria, BC, but more than 3000 km were still unpaved. Work started in the summer of 1950 with an infusion of $150 million of federal funds (half the estimated cost) provided for in the Trans-Canada Highway Act (1949). Cost-sharing plans, revised twice, increased the federal contribution to $825 million. Standards called for pavement widths of 6.7 m and 7.3 m; ample shoulder width, bridge clearances and sight distances; low gradients and curvature; elimination of railway grade crossings wherever possible; and a maximum load-bearing capacity of 9.1 t per axle. Construction was supervised by the provinces. The target date for completion was Dec 1956, but the job was more difficult and more expensive than anticipated. For example, the route between Golden and Revelstoke, BC, passes through Rogers Pass, where snowfall reaches 15.2 m per year and presents tremendous avalanche hazards. Snowsheds, earth mounds and other devices for avalanche control had to be provided. In Québec, the tunnel under the St Lawrence R at Boucherville Islands, which is part of the entranceway to Montréal, was a difficult project costing approximately $75 million and covering little more than 1 km of the highway. Finished in 1970, the highway had cost over $1 billion. It is the longest national highway in the world.
A reading from Peter Unwin's book Hard Surface: In Search of the Canadian Road, which focuses on the role of the road in Canadian history and the Canadian psyche. From YouTube.
A Road for Canada
A synopsis and excerpts from the book "A Road for Canada," which traces the history of the Trans-Canada Highway. From publishers Stanton Atkins & Dosil.
Hard Surface: In Search of the Canadian Road
A reading from Peter Unwin's book "Hard Surface: In Search of the Canadian Road", which focuses on the role of the road in Canadian history and the Canadian psyche. From YouTube.
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