Crews working around the clock managed to reopen the Sea to Sky Highway at about 10 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 2, more than a day earlier than expected.
The Ministry of Transportation said about 70 per cent of the debris was cleared by late afternoon on Friday, and only some minor scaling of the cliff face was needed before crews could repave the damaged section of the road.
The rockslide occurred just north of the Porteau Cove area at 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 29 closing both lanes of the highway for just under four days in total.
It’s unknown how much the cleanup bill will be, but chief geotechnical engineer Mike Oliver said it was costing the transportation ministry about $1,000 an hour for employees and machinery. Some of the material will be used at various construction sites, while other materials fell into Howe Sound.
The slide closed the main highway to Whistler during much of the August long weekend, but thousands still made the trip to town by water taxi, planes and driving the back route to Lillooet and over the Duffey Lake Road to Pemberton. The Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival went on as planned, as did the Canadian National BBQ Championships at Dusty’s in Creekside.
And the 21 st annual B.C. Corvette Club Car Show went ahead. Members of the Corvette Club took the alternate route to Whistler, enjoying the road and the views. The driving time was anywhere from six to nine hours from Vancouver, depending on traffic.
“As soon as I heard the highway was closed, I though perhaps the club members wouldn’t want to drive the extra time to get to Whistler,” said organizer Vic Nighscales. “But I did a couple of surveys of the participants, and the vast majority wanted to be there and keep the event going. Whistler is a special destination for us, and this event is something that’s very special to our members because of Whistler. The enthusiasm just knocked me out of my chair. A guy driving a ’62 Corvette made this trip. Some might hesitate to drive through the mountains, but he wanted to be here so he did it.”
Squamish emerges from rockslide unscathed
By Paul Carlucci
Despite an initial panic, the Porteau Cove rockslide was less a long weekend showstopper and more a temporary sedative for Squamish, with crews clearing the debris sooner than expected, Squamish supply shortages quickly resolved and the town’s annual Loggers Sports event unfolding more or less as planned.