There won’t be any official word until the budget is set in April, but indications are the Ministry of Transportation and Highways is planning a significant upgrade of Highway 99 between Culliton Creek and the Cheakamus Canyon next summer. A ministry spokesperson said new highway projects aren’t announced until the new fiscal year, which begins in April. However, the Resort Municipality of Whistler has been advised major road work is planned for the 5.7 km of highway between Culliton Creek and the Cheakamus Canyon. The ministry did design work for realignment and widening of that section of highway this past summer, one of only three capital projects in the region this year. The ministry also undertook modification and repairs to the floor beams of the Culliton Creek bridge — also known as the Big Orange Bridge — last summer. The Culliton Creek-Cheakamus Canyon section of Highway 99 is the only section between Squamish and Whistler which hasn’t been significantly realigned or upgraded since the highway was built in 1964. The upgrade is long overdue but it will likely mean disruptions in traffic next summer, as a considerable amount of blasting will be required.