Highway work to resume next week 

Hydro ducts, shoulder widening and regrading between Function Junction and village this summer

Highway construction within Whistler's boundaries is expected to resume next week, pending the weather.

A bulletin from Alpine Paving Ltd., the company that's performing the work, said that construction will resume "on or about" the week of March 23 on Highway 99 in order to do shoulder widening and install some BC Hydro ducts.

The ducts, according to project manager David Mintak, are essentially conduits for electrical cables buried in the ground. He said in an interview that work is being done on behalf of BC Hydro. They'll be installed in the ground between Function Junction and Village Gate Boulevard.

"It's essentially located next to our paved shoulder," he said. "We excavate the shoulder and bury the ductwork, and it's encased in concrete in most areas."

Phase one of the work is expected to go from mid-March to the end of April, though Mintak said that could be weather-dependent, especially given a recent snow dump in Whistler. That work will include excavating the north bound shoulder of the highway and installing the ducts between Spring Creek Road and London Lane in Creekside.

The bulletin assures that two lanes of traffic will be maintained at all times, but that travelers could expect minor delays as construction vehicles enter or leave their working areas. The next phase is due to begin at the end of April and will proceed north to Whistler Way, completing in mid-June.

Shoulder-widening is expected to begin at the end of April and head north from Function Junction at a number of locations up to Village Gate Boulevard. Travellers may, again, expect minor delays due to construction vehicles.

Work on both aspects of construction may require drilling, blasting and rock excavation, but Mintak promises that residents and businesses in the area will receive advance notice.

"Right now, there's no major blasting scheduled other than some of the rock they may encounter in the BC Hydro trench," he said. "When they encounter that, they will encounter that during the day and it should be small, very minor blasts."

Residents in areas such as the Spring Creek neighbourhood can expect to receive notices in mailboxes or other ways, according to Mintak.

Improvements to the Nordic Hill are also a significant part of this project. The bulletin states that work on the Nordic Hill, which will include construction of retaining walls and fill placement to improve the highway grade from Nordic Hill to Hillcrest, will take place in the evenings from May to July. It's expected that there will be closures from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. as well as single-lane alternating traffic, according to the bulletin.

There will also be barrier installation, electrical modifications at Function Junction and Bayshores, and patching and marking of pavement as part of the work.

Weekly traffic notices will be issued every Friday to keep people abreast of any changes. If you wish to be notified submit your e-mail to kstone@shawbiz.ca and you will be added to a mailing list.

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