Running along a steep cliff overlooking the majestic Howe Sound, the Sea to Sky Highway is the section of highway 99 running between horseshoe bay and Pemberton. Following the original upgrades prior to the 2010 winter Olympics, the government of British Columbia again pledged around $5.4 million to additional upgrades to this highway as part of the B.C. on the Move programme.
The upgrades, which will take place between Lions Bay and Pemberton, are intended to improve not only road conditions for drivers, but also to improve both safety and mobility for pedestrians and cyclists along one of the busiest stretches of the Sea to Sky Highway.
Of course, these are not the first upgrades that will affect the town of Squamish. In 2014, upgrades to the road, as well as the opening of the Sea to Sky Gondola, ushered in a boost in tourism to the area. With such increased traffic, of course, comes ever-more need for adequate and safe roads to travel on, especially on this route that was once known as Killer Highway.
Among the improvements that travellers on this road will see are significant resurfacing, improvements in access, sixteen variable speed signs – active as of June 2016, an overhead digital message sign and cyclist warning systems. These upgrades are intended to enhance year-round safety for all users of the highway.
Starting to the south, currently scheduled improvements are as follows:
An illuminated curve warning sign and a speed reader board just north of Lions Bay, intended to reduce speeds along this curving stretch of road;
Cycling activated digital warning signs to increase driver awareness of cyclists along the Porteau Bluffs section of the highway;
A second digital message sign at Alice Lake, catering to southbound traffic, complements the northbound sign that warns Highway 99 motorists of accidents or other incidents affecting traffic flow and highway safety;
An extended right turn acceleration lane at Lorimer Road northbound;
Access improvements to and from Whistler heliport, including a new left turn lane to be added to Highway 99;
Asphalt resurfacing of 5.8 kilometres of the highway north of whistler, intended to improve the driving surface and dust control.
This project is expected to run over summer and autumn 2016, although the entire B.C. on the Move project is a ten-year plan to significantly improve the transport network in the province. Of the estimated $2.7 billion that will be spent over the next three years, around $380 is earmarked for road resurfacing on the province’s highways, including Highway 99. The current target is to resurface around 1 000 kilometres of provincial highway every year. Among the innovations being used during this project will be a made-in-B.C. technology called hot-in-place recycle paving, an environmentally friendly alternative to purely conventional asphalt.
As a fairly central location on the route that will be undergoing these upgrades, the town of Squamish is expected to experience a significant amount of activity, both in terms of upgrades and improvements, and in terms of construction crew visitors to the area. While a good deal of workers will be locally employed, there will also be a number of workers needing accommodation. These workers will also be able to enjoy the unique features of Squamish while doing vital work to help bring more tourism to the area.
August Jack Motor Inn is conveniently located on Cleveland Avenue, Squamish and provides a central and cost-effective location with access to a variety of amenities, where road upgrade crews can be comfortably housed. Located at the quieter end of Cleveland Avenue, the inn offers breath-taking views of both the Stawamus Chief Mountain and Shannon Falls, and is surrounded by three open parks. We are within walking distance of restaurants, pubs and grocery stores. Guests can also take advantage of the free Wi-Fi that is available in the lobby and in all rooms.