Tales of the deadly and dusty
One of the deadliest stretches of Highway 99 is going to undergo $800,000 worth of reconstructive repairs this summer.
Power Line Hill, just north of Brandywine Falls, was tops on the list of projects when the Ministry of Transportation and Highways released the budget for its 1995-96 road rehabilitation program Monday. B.C. Hydro crews are set to arrive on site very soon to relocate the hydro line, which made road re-alignment difficult. The project is scheduled to be finished by Labour Day.
After years of waiting, numerous fatalities and some diligent lobbying at the provincial level, West Vancouver-Garibaldi MLA David Mitchell says he is "relieved" that the dangerous, sweeping S-curve at Power Line Hill will be straightened.
"I'm delighted we were able to get the Power Line Hill project approved because there have been so many tragic accidents in that area," Mitchell says.
Mitchell adds the Power Line Hill work has very little to do with a coming election — the area was a safety hazard which had to be corrected.
The Power Line Hill announcement is just part of $6.5 million plan which includes resurfacing, road upgrading, safety projects and new bridges. Highway 99 has been called the "killer highway" in the past, but Mitchell says unsafe drivers are more often to blame for tragedies in the Sea to Sky corridor.
While Mitchell was lauding the plans to fix the deadliest section of Highway 99, the Chief of the Mount Currie Band was scratching his head about an announcement regarding the dustiest section of the highway.
Included in a list of Highway 99 projects released by Mitchell's office, was a plan to pave the 10 kilometres of gravel road running through Mount Currie. When Chief Allen Stager of Mount Currie heard the highway was going to be paved, he was more than a little surprised.
In a statement released Monday, Stager says the Mount Currie band council "is in negotiations with the Ministry of Transportation and Highways for the pavement of the Lillooet Lake Road but by no means has there been any commitment on behalf of the band for this project."
Stager says any paving in Mount Currie will include the blacktopping of the 11.2 kilometres of side roads as well as Highway 99. Those negotiations are still underway and Stager says no announcement will be made until the band council finalizes negotiations, the elders of the band are consulted and a general meeting of the band is held to vote on the paving plans.
Over the course of the summer, people in Mount Currie breathe in pounds of dust stirred up by passing vehicles. Stager says the health issue is the biggest reason to pave the road, but all the gravel roads in Mount Currie must be paved to overcome the choking dust clouds.
He says Mitchell has already apologized for making the announcement without consulting the chief and council. Stager says paving the road would not effect outstanding land title issues and would not be used to advance a claim to the roads "for the past or in the future."