Letters to the Editor 

There's got to be a better way - highway closures, P3s, and avalanches

Motorists deserve some signs

At 4pm on Saturday afternoon my son and I set off for Vancouver under blue skies and in perfect driving conditions. At about 5:15 p.m. we reached an impasse at Furry Creek, only to learn that the highway had been closed all afternoon due to an earlier accident near Lion's Bay. They were hopeful that it would re-open to single-lane, alternating traffic at 7 p.m. (I later heard on the news that it actually re-opened at 9 p.m., over eight hours from the time of closure.)

I was incredulous that our world class resort had no signage whatsoever to alert travelers to this emergency situation, which had been in effect all afternoon. Many hundreds of vehicles headed down the highway in similar oblivion, only to reach the same frustrating end. A simple "Highway Closed" sign at the south end of Whistler would have prompted us to tune into Mountain FM and turn back. Instead, we were among the legions of unsuspecting motorists scrambling to backtrack and find hotel and dinner arrangements in Squamish, a town verily "slammed" by the surprise onslaught.

Basic signage seems like such a simple and obvious solution to what surely is not an uncommon problem on Highway 99, especially in the winter. When I called the Squamish RCMP at about 6 p.m. to express my dismay, I was told without sympathy that they had "no time" to deal with signage. I reminded her that not everyone listens to Mountain FM.

Surely the countless vehicles backed up in both directions only exacerbate a bad situation, and could have so easily been averted. As could the immense frustration, wasted time and fuel, and unexpected overnight costs for so many drivers and their families/friends.

To the powers that be, as our own Olympics are only four years away, please let's not wait till then to bring our emergency highway communications into the 21st century.

Shelley Phelan

Whistler

Keep highway open

While the death of the motorcyclist on the Sea to Sky highway last Saturday was tragic and the cars stretching from Brittania to Horseshoe Bay nothing short of a nightmare, questions need to be asked like why the highway was closed for eight hours and how the situation could have been mitigated.

Why weren’t the cars stopped at Squamish and advised of the situation? As it was, we didn’t learn of the accident until south of Porteau Cove. We then elected to turn around and go back to Squamish (as did others). But what of those driving north on the divided highway with an abutment down the middle? They had no place to turn around and were trapped for hours.

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