Many regular Highway 99 users have felt for some time that the route needs upgrading between Pemberton and Whistler. The British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) has strengthened the claim by naming the stretch of highway connecting the two communities as the eighth worst roadway in the province.
Through most of May, BCAA asked drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to identify the province’s worst roads. Survey participants were encouraged to think about needed repairs, congestion and safety risks. Those who pointed to the Sea to Sky Highway between Whistler and Pemberton noted that potholes and crumbling pavement are concerns.
Cyclist Tony Routley of Team Whistler said he feels the route needs an upgrade.
According to the avid road rider, many Whistler cyclists opt against riding on Highway 99 and choose instead to ride their mountain bikes off-road because they feel unsafe on their road bikes while cycling on the highway.
“There’s some rough spots, there’s some spots where the shoulder is super narrow,” said Routley.
If the route gets an upgrade, Routley said there’s an opportunity for Whistler and Pemberton to market the route as a cycling destination that would attract more visitors to the region.“It could be an excellent opportunity for something to be done for cyclists specifically on a new road development,” Routley said. “We’re a tourist area, we’ve got tons of people riding their bikes on the road now, more all the time. We’ve got new events coming to town that’s increasing that cycling traffic.”
In addition to building wider shoulders along the entire route Routley said he’d like to see ongoing shoulder maintenance to ensure bike hazards like debris and obstacles are kept off the shoulder.
“I think it’s a win-win for everybody if we could come with something,” said Routley.
Ken Cousin, BCAA’s associate vice president of Road Assist said his association will pass the results of the survey to municipalities and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
“Throughout the campaign, we’ve spoken with road users and they’re telling us that safety is a great concern when it comes to the state of our roads,” said Cousin. “We want to do what we can to help make road authorities aware about those dangerous and problematic roads in our province.”
Westside Road in West Kelowna was identified through the survey as the worst road in the province.
Check back for more coverage of planned Highway 99 improvements between Whistler and Pemberton.