"Major construction" of the Sea to Sky Highway Improvement Project is now complete.
An e-mail went out on Oct. 2 that confirmed that "Major construction is now complete to Function Junction," wrapping up more than four years of work from West Vancouver to Whistler.
Ministry of Transportation spokesman Dave Crebo said that crews are now putting the finishing touches on the highway.
"Within the next couple of weeks the project will be deemed complete and there will be an event to commemorate that, although the exact date hasn't been nailed down yet," he said. "All the major work is complete, so we're down to things like line painting, installing barriers and some work on the pull-outs. All of that should wrap up soon, which should be pretty exciting for communities."
The paving project currently underway to the north of Squamish is not related to the highway improvement project, but is regularly scheduled maintenance by Miller Capilano Maintenance Corporation.
The $10 million Highway 99 Whistler Improvement Project, which includes highway work between Function Junction and Whistler Village is still underway as well. That work is expected to conclude by the end of October, with most of the heavy construction wrapping up next week.
The Sea to Sky Highway Improvement is massive undertaking, as well as a controversial one. The price tag of $600 million includes a 35-year service contract for the Sea to Sky Transportation Group of companies that won the bid to rebuild and upgrade the highway.
The completed highway includes 80 km of additional passing lanes from Horseshoe Bay to Whistler, wider shoulders, median barriers in four-lane sections, centre rumble strips in two and three-lane sections, better line marking and signage, two rail overpasses, realignment to remove or smooth out corners, improved intersections and pull-out lanes, reroutes at Horseshoe Bay and Pinecrest, regrading of steep sections, wider lanes and a variety of other safety features.
In addition to the work on the highway itself, three new web cameras have been installed to let drivers see current road and weather conditions before traveling. The new cameras are at Function Junction, Alice Lake and Furry Creek. They can be viewed on the DriveBC website at www.drivebc.ca.
The highway is also the introduction to a cultural journey that traces the history and legends of the Squamish and Lil'wat First Nations in the corridor.
First Nation names for the region are displayed in signs from Horseshoe Bay to Mount Currie. Seven pullouts along the highway include interpretive panels depicting First Nations art and oral history.