While there is still no decision on major upgrades to Highway 99, work has started on twinning the Culliton Creek bridge, 35 kilometres south of Whistler.
The bridge work is expected to be completed next summer.
By 2004, further highway realignments are expected to be completed for the 6 km section of road immediately north of the bridge to the top of the Cheakamus Canyon. That work will include widening the road to three lanes on uphill grades.
Survey markings on the walls of the canyon, beyond the 6 km of scheduled work, are for test drilling, according to the Ministry of Transportation. The tests will provide samples of rock structure and provide an indication of whether the material could be used for road bed in the 6 km section, and how much it would cost to extend the realignment beyond 6 km and into the canyon.
"If we can push the funding to the max, we may be able to do something," a ministry spokesman said.
While the ministry has had the bridge twinning and highway realignment on the books for several years, approval for the first phase of the upgrade twinning the bridge was only given this past summer.
Walter Construction of Richmond won the contract to do the bridge work. Construction has been timed to meet the environmental windows on the creek.
The bridge construction is expected to have little or no impact on traffic.