Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The new Sea to Sky Highway

Also know as the "Highway to the Whistler 2010 Winter Olympics" is finally finished. At least "our" section is finished.

It was a week or so after we got back from Calgary that the new section opened - but I am slow to blog - as usual. Most people in the world won't care that the 6 years of highway construction we have lived with is finally over - but for us it was a big exciting event! LOL

There is still a few small areas of the highway that are not yet finished but the major roadwork between Horseshoe Bay and Lions Bay is now completed. The highway construction began in September of 2003. So we have been driving on about 13 kms of highway that has been under construction since then. The highway was a two lane road that had to be changed to a 4 lane highway because of the Winter Olympics in 2010. We live about 90 km south of Whistler. The entire highway from Vancouver to Whistler was upgraded to a 3-4 lane highway - the entire 100 kms or so. Our section of the highway was one of the most difficult sections to be built and there was a part of the highway that was not able to be widened at all so a new highway was carved out of the mountain above the original road.

The first day that the highway opened Jim phoned on his way home from work to say he was driving the new highway. He came home and we took a drive together on the highway and I brought my camera and took some pictures. It was a beautiful sunny day and so exciting to be driving on a piece of road that we have been waiting for almost 6 years to be finished. I had been in for a walk with Jenny earlier in the day and had driven home along the old road at 2:30 and by the time Jim came home at 4:30 the new highway was open.

As you can see in the first picture the original road to the right is now an off ramp to Horseshoe Bay and the new 4 lane highway head up the hill instead of snaking along the side of a cliff right along the water. The original road was very winding and there were many, many car and truck accidents along this road. There have been a few times over the years that we were not able to go home because the road was closed due to an accident or a rock slide. This is the only road to get home or to the 2010 Olympics in Whistler.

The new highway is quite a steep climb up Eagle Ridge. Look at the brand new pavement!

Driving over the top and then you come down to the left of the Horseshoe Bay ferry traffic which now has to merge into you!!

And here is the view from the new highway - around the top of the hill. Isn't that lovely!

As you can tell the new highway has me pretty excited. It does make the drive a few minutes shorter - so not much of a savings in time but it is just such a nice drive now. Did I mention that we have been driving in a highway construction zone for 6 years!! Orange cones...traffic control people.... mega sized dump trucks.... sitting at midnight for 25 minutes while they blasted rock.... listening to them blast rock....driving over gravel and holes at 20 km hour.... Now you know why I am so excited :)))

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  1. Congrats on the new highway...Even a few minutes shorter is good. The view is awesome!

  2. That's an amazing feat of engineering, and the views are just incredible! Thanks for giving us the insider's peek!

  3. Such a view you have on that stretch of road.

    I agree that when road construction finally ends it is cause for celebration.

  4. Nice view on the new highway. We Canadians are amused by these things. Here in WIndsor part of a street was levelled where there used to be a viaduct and I know a lot of us drove down there to look at the new road. It looked so different but now the novelty has worn off and it's become a familiar place.

  5. I'll be right over to do a test drive myself! LOL, it's lovely.

  6. A better highway is always good news. Are you ready for the influx of tourists for the Olympics? Are you planning on attending any of the events?

  7. I would be very excited too to finally have the road work finished..........

  8. New Highways are exciting, The views from your highway are stunning. Here in Geelong we have part of a new highway open, the second part will open next year , this will allow us on the South side of Geelpong to access the Melbourne highway much quicker, but then so will everyone else be using it.



    We will be happy to come see you some time soon then!