Roughly four years since shovels broke ground, the $600 million Sea to Sky Highway Improvement Project passed the 75 per cent completion mark this week. The project will likely wrap up in third quarter 2009 with 80 km of new passing lanes between Horseshoe Bay and Whistler, straightened corners, overpasses over rail lines, shorter travel times, and a variety of safety features like centre barriers, wider shoulders, reflective markings, and rumble strips.
In the latest community update from the Ministry of Transportation, the project managers thanked the public for their patience during delays and closures, and promised to continue to mitigate the impact of delays and closures. As well, the tentative schedule of delays and closures for 2009 was released, with maximum delays of 30 minutes from West Vancouver to Whistler, weekly night closures, and one-hour closures in the afternoons during the shoulder season.
Several sections are now complete or nearing completion in West Vancouver, Horseshoe Bay, Squamish and between Squamish and Whistler.
• The construction of three overpasses at the Eagleridge Interchange, and traffic patterns have changed.
• Most rock blasting, embankment fill and sub-grade (below the highway bed) construction is complete on the West Vancouver highway section from the Eagleridge Interchange past the Larsen Creek Bridge.
• From Larsen Creek Bridge north approximately two-thirds of rock blasting, embankment fill and sub-grade construction is complete.
• Retaining wall construction at the north junction where the new highway joins the existing highway is near completion, and work is beginning on a new northbound overpass.
• Wall construction is complete on north and south sides of Kelvin Grove.
• The Kelvin Grove underpass and Brunswick Road overpass is done.
• Paving is complete for downslope lanes and the roads for local traffic are complete.
• Paving is completed from Alberta Creek to the south of Brunswick Road overpass.
• Now three lanes with a median barrier between Minaty Bay and Britannia south.
• New northbound chain-up area.
• Two lane bridge over Britannia Creek open.
• Highway regraded and paved through the community.
• Four lane section from Watts Point to Shannon Falls is complete, with new parking lots at Shannon Falls and Stawamus Chief Park.
• Work between Shannon Falls and the Stawamus River is complete, as well as the western portion of the four-lane bridge over the Stawamus.
• The demolition of the Mamquam Blind Channel bridge is almost complete and the majority of the new bridge in place.
• The intersection at Commercial Way is complete.
• New two-lane bridges at Mamquam River and Centennial Underpass are complete.
• The pedestrian overpass south of Garibaldi Way was ready for the school year.
• The new four-lane section between Garibaldi Highlands and Depot Road is open.
Squamish to Whistler
New 5 km, three-lane section from Cheakamus Canyon to Rubble Creek complete, and a new three km, four-lane section from Rubble Creek to Daisy Lake.
• Bridge construction complete at Rubble Creek, Cheakamus River, Daisy Lake, Brandywine River and Callaghan River.
• Majority of Black Tusk and Pinecrest realignment complete.
• Most of the work done at railway overpasses at Brandywine and Function Junction.
• First layer of asphalt from Callaghan Forest Service Road to Powerline Hill.
• First layers of asphalt north of Brew Creek Lodge intersection, north of Whistler Olympic Park intersection, and south of the Function Junction overpass.
• Miller Creek debris blasting is complete, and utility pole relocation is nearing completion.
Highway work stopped on Christmas Eve this year and resumed on Dec. 27. There are no closures through the holidays, and maximum 15-minute delays from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. in the different road sections through the end of the holidays. All delays are staggered to prevent being caught in back-to-back delays en route to Whistler.
More information on the 2009 schedule is posted online at http://projects.ch2m.com/TraficUpdate/.