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Ironman releases first phase of travel information

SLRD concerns about increased bike traffic on Pemberton Meadows Road

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With a 180-kilometre bike leg and full marathon course, 2,500 athletes and thousands of volunteers and spectators, Ironman Canada is going to have a significant impact on travel on August 25, both for residents living in Whistler and the Pemberton area and for drivers through the corridor.

Ironman Canada organizers released their first round of travel plans this week, to be followed in late June with additional information that's specific to neighbourhoods.

Maureen Douglas and Evan Taylor of Ironman Canada presented the latest information to directors of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District on May 27.

Taylor said race operations would ramp up one week prior to the event, with athletes and supporters expect to spend two to four days in the region. One-third of participants come early, Douglas said.

The day after the race, Monday, Aug. 26, would see continued celebrations and the first day of registration for 2014 Ironman Canada.

Organizers continue to work with the Ministry of Transportation, Taylor said, and a Sea to Sky Communications Working Group that includes the local governments in Pemberton, Whistler and the SLRD, Tourism Whistler, Tourism Pemberton and the chambers of commerce in both communities.

During the event, management of the roads and highways will be carried out by Miller Capilano and the RCMP. Emergency access will have priority.

There were questions for Ironman Canada from directors concerned about road closure impact.

"I'm getting a lot of calls from Pemberton Valley residents with a high level of concern," said SLRD Area C director Susie Gimse. "Particularly in terms of impact on farming at that time of year."

She also told Douglas and Taylor she had heard "horror stories" from residents about near accidents on Pemberton Meadows Road, which has no shoulder or bike lanes.

"The situations are out there and they're occurring and you need to address them... Athletes need to be advised," Gimse said.

Taylor responded by saying safety advice for athletes has been emailed monthly and that increased signage should help.

While there are no extended closures planned along the route, the first plan recommends travel times to avoid delays.

Morning Travel:

• Northbound from Squamish to Whistler and Pemberton, drivers should pass the Squamish Adventure Centre by 7:30 a.m.

• Drivers heading south from Whistler to Squamish should pass Village Gate Boulevard by 7:30 a.m.

• Drivers heading north from Whistler to Pemberton should pass Village Gate Boulevard by 8 a.m.

• Drivers heading south from Pemberton to Squamish and Whistler should pass the Pemberton Community Centre by 7 a.m.

• Drivers heading from Pemberton to the Pemberton Meadows should pass the Pemberton Community Centre by 8:30 a.m. Drivers heading south from the meadows to the Village of Pemberton should pass by the community centre by 10 a.m.

Afternoon Travel

• Drivers heading north from Squamish to Pemberton and Whistler should pass by the Squamish Adventure Centre after 12:00 p.m.

• Drivers heading south to Squamish should pass Village Gate Boulevard after 12:30 p.m.

• Divers heading north from Whistler to Pemberton should pass Village Gate Boulevard after 1:30 p.m.

• Drivers heading south from Pemberton to Whistler and Squamish should pass the Pemberton Community Centre after 5 p.m.

• Drivers heading north from Pemberton town centre to the Pemberton Meadows should pass the Pemberton Community Centre after 2:30 p.m. Drivers going the opposite direction from the Meadows to the village should pass the community centre after 4:30 p.m.

For more visit www.ironman.ca.

— With files from Andrew Mitchell

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