With Ironman Canada set to return to Whistler on Sunday, July 29, officials have released a traffic impact guide ahead of the event.
While this year's bike course features a new route, keeping Pemberton completely unaffected, Highway 99 closures around Whistler will once again be significant.
"There are a couple of major changes this year," said Ironman's Keats McGonigal. "First, the event starts earlier, so we are anticipating all closures ending by 5 p.m. Second, the new bike course allows for significantly more access to local residents, particularly north of Whistler."
Highway 99 between Whistler and Pemberton will have access the entire day, McGonigal noted.
"There may be some delays, but there are no full closures north of Alpine Way as there has been in the past. This is the main purpose of the new course," he said.
"Third, there will be significantly more bike traffic on Alta Lake Road than in the past, so residents on this road should plan accordingly."
There will be no southbound traffic on Highway 99 between Nancy Greene Drive and Callaghan Road from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and no access to Highway 99 from the west side between Alpine Way and Callaghan road from 6:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Southbound traffic between Village Gate Boulevard and Callaghan Road will reopen at 1 p.m., but southbound between Nancy Greene Drive and Village Gate Boulevard will stay closed until 5 p.m.
All southbound traffic will go back to normal at 5 p.m. (expect delays).
For those heading north from Whistler, there will be single-lane alternating traffic between Alpine Way and Nancy Greene Drive from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (but no access to the highway from the west side of Highway 99 until normal operations resume sometime between 6:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.).
For those heading up from the Lower Mainland, there will be no access to Whistler on Highway 99 past Callaghan Road after 11:30 a.m.
Blackcomb Way West will also be closed from Friday, July 27 through Sunday, July 29 (between Lorimer Road and the Maury Young Arts Centre) to accommodate the event's finish line.
The Valley Trail will remain open to bike and foot traffic (though some sections are incorporated into the race—use caution), and on Saturday, July 28, Alta Lake Road will be closed to vehicle traffic from Nita Lake Drive to Buckhorn Drive.
Find full details at whistler.ca/ironman.
The full-distance race will have riders start from the transition point at Rainbow Park, head north on Alta Lake Road through Alpine, and then take Highway 99 down to Callaghan Valley Road, where they will go partway up before turning around and returning to Rainbow Park. After the third lap, riders will head south on Highway 99 before taking a left turn onto Whistler Way and progressing to the normal run transition in Day Lot 4.
The 70.3-km course will send riders to the end of Callaghan Road, back up to Rainbow Park, and then through Whistler Village.
"The new route certainly addresses many of the concerns we heard from local residents by allowing traffic to flow between Pemberton and Whistler throughout the day as opposed the closures that were in place in the past," McGonigal said.