Highway 99 between Whistler Village and Function Junction is up
for a facelift starting in the fall.
The B.C. Ministry of Transportation confirmed that construction
is soon to begin on the stretch of highway that will create a third lane, to
provide increased safety and cycling space.
The construction will also include improvements to three
existing bus stops: one just north of the Nordic overpass, another north of the
entrance to Brio and one more south of Lake Placid Road.
“It consists of some widening to accommodate a bike lane, so a
broader shoulder and some bus pullouts,” Whistler Councillor Tim Wake said of
Jeff Knight, a spokesman for the Ministry of Transportation,
said by e-mail that preliminary design for the improvements was completed last
January and that work has been concentrated on “detailed design plans” since
February. Once detailed design is finished, the ministry will prepare documents
for contractors to prepare bids for construction.
That step is expected to be complete next month, when the
projects go to tender, according to Knight. Overall, he expects construction to
begin in early fall and to be complete in fall 2009.
Wake said the project will also include some improvements to
the Nordic hill area, which he said has been a hazard for drivers in the
“The Nordic hill is a common location for traffic disruptions
in the winter during major snow events,” he said. “The (Ministry of
Transportation) did an engineering study of the hill last year and found out it
has not only a grade that is the steepest grade within Whistler, but it also
has a slope off to the side that’s quite steep. As a result, vehicles tend to
lose traction on that hill.”
The hill will thus be “re-graded” in order to limit traffic
disruption, according to Wake.
Knight, however, said modifications to Nordic hill will depend
on the results of geotechnical and environmental investigations currently
“The plans are almost complete,” he wrote to
Though the project is expected to be finished in time for the
2010 Olympics, there have been a couple of problems encountered along the way.
One is the technical challenge of the work, which comes because the highway
improvements must be done in concert with some other work with B.C. Hydro.
“B.C. Hydro is doing substantial upgrades and burying cable in
the highway right of way for the 2010 Games,” Wake said. “That work has to go
on, (it) makes the most sense for it to go on concurrently with the highway
Knight also confirmed that blasting will have to be done as
part of the highway improvements. Though the amount of blasting has yet to be
determined, he said there will be 10 locations requiring “rock cuts that vary
in size,” though he did not confirm which locations those would be.
Knight did not indicate how much the project would cost, saying that the Ministry of Transportation does not want to prejudice the bid process.