Thursday, July 31, 2008

Getting Ready for the 2010 Olympics – Rock Slide on the Highway

Well – there was a rockslide on the highway, known as the Sea to Sky Highway up to Whistler, BC the other day. Sixteen thousand cubic metres of rock fell onto the highway, the only road up to Whistler from Vancouver – the only way to get to the alpine and nordic events for the 2010 Olympics. The highway has always been notoriously dangerous, undependable and frighteningly decrepit. It is a winding road that offers beautiful views – it is built along the face of cliffs right about Howe Sound. I have traveled the highway many times and been hit by rocks falling – and there have been rock slides in the past that have closed the highway for many days. Worse yet, there have always been innumerable accidents all year long on the highway and only the young, brave and confident fail to fear the road.

The Provincial Government has long considered how to improve the trip to Whistler (it is a huge internationally recognized skiing and recreation destination) – options that have included building a road through the watersheds, parks, wilderness and lands owned by first nation groups. The original estimates to bring the highway up to excellent standards was close to $2Billion – but the Provincial Government decided to scale back the changes considerably to $700Million. So as we get close to the Olympics – there is a tremendous rock slide, closing the road for a minimum of five days and stranding people on either side of the slide area. The slide happened in an area that was not being improved – ooopsie – I guess it needed work too.

So – what would happen if there was a slide during the Olympics – a slide that would block access to the competition venues?

I will be blogging more about the 2010 Olympics – letting you know the inside scoop on what is happening in and around Vancouver. We probably won’t have to worry about the deadly smog and pollution like we are seeing in Beijing, but a rock slide could certainly ruin the party here in Vancouver.

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