History of the Sea-to-Sky Highway in British Columbia



Highway 99 Sea To Sky Highway to Whistler

Whistler - mountain scenic view Highway 99, the Squamish Highway, or Whistler Highway north of Vancouver, is the major north-south artery running through the Greater Vancouver area of British Columbia from the U.S. border, up Howe Sound through the Sea to Sky Country and passes Britannia Beach, Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton, and to Lillooet 9ccess to the Trans-Canada #1), and further north to Highway 97 just north of Cache Creek.

Garibaldi Provincial Park The route was first paved in 1966, the highway was a single lane of traffic in each direction, carved into the dramatic cliffs of the Coast Mountains, at or close to where they met the sea. And winding around the north-south railway tracks, which laid first claim on any available flat land on that route. In the early 1960s, the cost for building just 34 kilometres on this route was $11 million.

Over the 1970s A new access road from Squamish, at the head of Howe Sound, to Pemberton was built and paved. Later, the 84-kilometre-long Duffey Lake Road, connecting the Pemberton area to Lillooet, was upgraded to a hard surface highway.

Squamish photos

Whistler photos


Improvements for the 2010 Winter Olympics

Whistler Sliding Centre, overhead view A 1997 study concluded unsafe speeds and dangerous driving accounted for 40 per cent of accidents on the very curvy old 2-lane highway. The impact was to reduce collisions along the route from 200 a year (2001-2007) by about half.

The highway underwent a $775-million renovation before the 2010 Winter Olympics. The work involving blasting several mountainsides to straighten some of the notorious curves, as well as widen the entire route to 4 lanes. This renovation that took from January 2008, to December 2009.

The improvements to 100 kilometers (62 miles) of the Sea-to-Sky Highway (Highway 99) between Vancouver and Whistler, included the construction of 48 new bridges & interchanges; 219 MSE retaining walls; 2.4 million cubic meters of earthwork; and 450,000 metric tons of asphalt paving. The project added 20 km of passing lanes, 16 km of new median barrier, 10 km of widened shoulders, for improved safety to accommodate cyclists. The work began in 2005 and continued to 2009.

Other Resources

Horseshoe Bay to Hope itinerary Horseshoe Bay to Squamish Sea To Sky S2S Partnership REport

More Trans-Canada Highway History

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