Rockslide blocks highway to Whistler, B.C.
A massive rockslide has blocked the only direct route between Vancouver, B.C., and Whistler, the main corridor for the thousands of people who will travel between the two main venues for the 2010 Olympic Games.
A massive rockslide in British Columbia has blocked the only direct route between Vancouver and Whistler, the main corridor for the thousands of people who will travel between the two main venues for the 2010 Olympic Games.
An entire cliff face collapsed onto the Sea-to-Sky Highway late Tuesday night, stopping traffic on the busy thoroughfare along the coast north of Vancouver.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said provincial Ministry of Highways officials were at the site, determining the stability of the remaining cliff still perched over the highway.
No injuries were reported, but officers from the RCMP and Canadian Coast Guard were searching the area to make sure no vehicles were caught, the RCMP said in a statement. An airport bus was struck by rocks from the slide just after 11 p.m. Tuesday and lost several windows and a wheel and tire assembly, but there were no injuries, according to a report in The Vancouver Sun.
Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon told the Sun he estimates it will be at least five days before the highway reopens.
The fallen rocks cover the highway near Porteau Cove, south of Squamish. Debris across the road and nearby railway tracks is up to 30 feet deep and 100 feet wide in places.
The closure of the winding and scenic road leaves just one route from the Whistler and Howe Sound area to Vancouver: a seven- to eight-hour drive through Duffy Lake. However, Falcon told the Sun his ministry was talking with BC Ferries about the possibility of starting passenger-ferry service from Darrell Bay in Squamish to Vancouver.
The province is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the Sea-to-Sky Highway, both for expected Olympics traffic and for safety reasons.
Falcon told the Sun that he's confident there won't be a similar slide during the Olympics.
Information from the Vancouver Sun was included in this story.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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