Sea to Sky upgrade delays less than Culliton Creek 

The $600 million highway upgrades will cause less highway delays and traffic interruptions than the current Culliton Creek project, according to officials with the provincial Ministry of Transportation

"The closure and delay pattern will be far, far less than Culliton," said Peter Milburn, the Ministry of Transportation’s director for the Sea to Sky project at public the open house last week at Millennium Place.

He later added that closures for the Culliton project, which began last spring with extensive day and night closures, are the most extensive of any provincial highway project on the books.

"The Culliton Creek closure regime is the biggest one on any single project so subsequent projects wouldn’t have the same type of closure regime that we had at Culliton."

Last Friday’s open house was a chance for the public to comment on the proposed Sea to Sky Highway upgrade, which is planned to start in spring 2004 and is scheduled to be finished the year before the 2010 Olympic Games. Only a handful of community members came to see what the project was all about, as well as to offer comments which will then be passed along to the Environmental Assessment Office as part of the application process.

"It’s just a major issue in the community," said Frank Savage.

Savage is a volunteer at the Olympic office and is often asked about the highway upgrades when he is working there.

"I wanted to know what’s going on," he said.

"I think what’s going on now in the Culliton Creek is a good test case. It seems to be working.

"We’ve learned to live with it."

Savage admits he doesn’t often travel on the highway and so the Culliton Creek closures haven’t had a big impact on his life.

He was one of roughly 25 people who attended the five-hour open house. In fact, there were more Ministry of Transportation representatives on hand than there were people asking questions about the project.

"I think it’s a good sign in a lot of ways that we’ve satisfied a lot of the public concerns, either through presentations to council or we’ve got these little community advisory groups and liaison committees," said Mike Lichtensteiger, project manager with the transportation division at SNC Lavalin Group.

"The big question for Whistler was impact to traffic during construction and I think it’s been fairly well demonstrated that we can achieve it just through that Culliton to Cheakamus (project)."

Traffic control however isn’t the only concern from this large-scale project, which is separate from the ongoing work at Culliton.

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