SQUAMISH – An $18.2-million contract has been awarded to BelPacific Excavation and Shoring Limited Partnership of Burnaby to rehabilitate the North Culliton Creek Bridge and reconstruct seven kilometres of the Sea-to-Sky Highway between Culliton Creek and Cheakamus Canyon, north of Squamish. The announcement was made today by Transportation Minister Judith Reid and West Vancouver-Garibaldi MLA Ted Nebbeling.
“We are expanding British Columbia’s transportation infrastructure to help revitalize our economy, with $650 million in new investments over the next three years,” said Reid. “The Sea-to-Sky Highway is a major tourism link to Whistler, Pemberton and the Cariboo. Upgrading the highway will help support the tremendous growth we’ve seen at Whistler and open new opportunities for our vibrant tourism industry.”
Last winter, Premier Gordon Campbell committed to a $600-million upgrade of the Sea-to-Sky Highway, in addition to the Culliton Creek – Cheakamus Canyon improvements that are taking place.
The section of highway north of Culliton Creek is windy and narrow with little or no shoulder and no passing opportunities on the steep grades. The project involves replacing the deck of the North Culliton Creek Bridge and seismically upgrading the bridge, improving the alignment of the highway and adding an extra lane for uphill sections. About 275,000 cubic metres of rock will be blasted and removed – enough to fill 27,500 dump trucks. Construction is expected to finish in 2005.
“This is about safety – first and foremost,” said Nebbeling. “This section of highway has more than 18 collisions per year. These improvements are going to make it much safer for the local residents, commuters and tourists who rely on the highway.”
Road closures will begin shortly to allow rock blasting to take place. Closures are necessary due to the large amount of rock that must be safely blasted and removed. The closures are scheduled during times when traffic is lighter, to minimize delays to travellers.
From now until June 19, motorists should anticipate closures Monday to Thursday between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., noon and 1 p.m., and 3 and 4 p.m. Daytime closures will also occur between September 22 and November 26.
From May 20 to May 29 and from August 5 to November 26, motorists should anticipate night closures Monday night to Friday morning between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. Between June 2 and July 31, closures will occur Monday night to Friday morning between 8 p.m. and midnight and 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.
The closure schedule is based on traffic data and extensive consultation with stakeholders and is designed to reduce the impact on communities. Motorists are advised to plan their trips in advance by checking the closure schedule on the ministry’s Web site, www.gov.bc.ca/tran, under Road Reports, or by calling a toll-free project information line at 1-866-986-8675.
The province is dedicating funding from fuel-tax revenues to the transportation system to support economic growth.