Motorists planning to head up or down Highway 99 on Saturday, Sept. 10 should plan to spend more time on the road than usual, authorities say.
Specifically, drivers can expect to see delays of up to three hours between West Vancouver and Whistler between 5:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. as more than 6000 cyclists make their way from Vancouver's Stanley Park to Whistler Village as part of this year's RBC GranFondo.
A variety of traffic safety measures will be in effect, according to organizers, including lowering the speed limit to 60 kilometres/hour on sections of Highway 99 between Horseshoe Bay and Whistler, single-lane traffic on various stretches of Highway 99, and a few closures and detours.
Sea to Sky RCMP say support units will also be present along the route, particularly near the four designated rest stops along the route: Porteau Cove, Alice Lake, Salt Shed, and Brandywine Chain-Up area.
"Motorists are also advised to plan their travel well in advance, drive with caution and follow signs," the event's website reads, noting that there will be a few "traffic pattern changes" implemented throughout the day. "Thank you for your cooperation and for supporting all of the volunteers, spectators, and the athletes who have trained so hard for this day. Together we can create a successful day for all."
Vancouver road closures
The majority of traffic control measures in the Lower Mainland will only be in effect throughout the early hours of the event. The Stanley Park Causeway and Lions Gate Bridge will be closed to northbound traffic, from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.One southbound lane will remain open. Drivers are advised to use the Ironworker’s Memorial / Second Narrows Bridge. Access to Stanley Park Drive from Georgia Street will also remain closed from 3 a.m. to 8 a.m.
Meanwhile on Highway 1, both eastbound lanes will be closed between Taylor Way and Horseshoe Bay between 5:30 and 10 a.m. Motorists can instead use Marine Drive.
Drivers are also encouraged to avoid Cypress Bowl Road between 6 and 8:30 a.m., as hundreds of cyclists make their way up and down the hill alongside police escorts.
Ferry traffic and local Horseshoe Bay traffic, meanwhile, will be re-routed to Marine Drive through West Vancouver starting at 5:30 a.m. and ending at 9:30 a.m.
Southbound Highway 99 traffic will be re-routed at the Pasco Road exit, via the Old Highway 99 route (Horseshoe Bay Drive), to Marine Drive in West Vancouver until 11 a.m., while counterflow traffic adjacent to cyclists will be in effect at Tunnel Point. One northbound lane and one southbound lane will be available, with single-lane alternating traffic for 2.6 km between 6:30 and 11 a.m.
Single-lane alternating traffic on stretches of Sea to Sky highway
Counterflow traffic will also in effect at Porteau Cove Provincial Park, with single-lane alternating traffic flowing beside cyclists for a 1.3 km stretch between 7:15 and 11 a.m.
Local Furry Creek traffic will be re-routed via internal roads to access Highway 99 in both directions from 7:15 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., while single-lane alternating traffic will be in effect for one km at Britannia Beach, with no northbound right turn permitted at Main Street (Copper Drive), from 7:30 a.m. to noon.
Squamish traffic control
Squamish motorists will experience a series of intermittent delays between 8 and 8:30 a.m and 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., as well as full closures between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. along Highway 99 between Valley Drive and Depot Road.
According to organizers, traffic signals will be flashing and traffic movements, both to and from the east side of Highway 99, will be restricted and or closed. The Garibaldi Highlands traffic measures will impact Scott Crescent NB (North of Clark Drive), Mamquam Road WB (West of Diamond Head Road), Garibaldi Way WB (West of Tantalus Rd), and Depot Road WB (East of Hwy 99), excluding Clarke Drive for hospital access and Dowad Drive for Garibaldi Highlands access. Motorists here can U-turn at Depot Road for southbound access to the highway.
Additionally, there will be no traffic access to Loggers Lane from Highway 99 at Cleveland Avenue or Industrial Way between 8 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Motorists are advised to use Centennial Way underpass to access Loggers Lane.
Counterflow traffic will also be flowing next to cyclists between Alice Lake Road and Function Junction from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with cyclists occupying the far right northbound lane. One lane northbound and one lane southbound available for motorists.
Traffic control persons and flashing traffic signals will both be present between Murrin Lake Park and Squamish throughout the day.
Whistler road closures
Beginning at Function Junction, "Signals will be flashing and traffic will be stopped intermittently at the entrances and exits to key Whistler destinations." Motorists should expect "major delays entering and exiting the east side of Highway 99 in Whistler" between Function and Village Gate Boulevard.
Other closures include:
- Blackcomb Way West – Closed in both directions.
- Village Gate Boulevard entrance to the Village – Closed to northbound and southbound traffic from Highway 99 (drivers and cyclists can instead access the village from both Lorimer Road and Whistler Way)
- Callaghan Valley Road – closed in both directions
Traffic signals will also be flashing at Whistler Northlands and Village Gate Boulevards from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
No traffic control measures will be in effect north of the GranFondo's Whistler Village finish line, while Alta Lake Road will be available to serve as an alternate traffic route from Highway 99 in Whistler.
Police also encouraged Sea to Sky residents and visitors to plan for extra travel time, and underscored that the detachments have resources dedicated to the event to facilitate traffic flow and safety.
“We hope riders, supporters, and organizers have a safe and fun event,” said Cpl. Angela Kermer, Sea to Sky RCMP's media rrelations officer, in a release. “We also thank drivers in advance for their patience and attentiveness as the event progresses throughout the day.”
The event's full list of traffic impacts can be found on GranFondo Whistler's website.