Concerns raised about Sea-to-Sky Hwy. expansion

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VANCOUVER, B.C. — The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans has spoken out against a plan by the B.C. Liberals to expand the Sea-to-Sky Highway before the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The road upgrades, expected to cost $600 million, will widen the mostly two-lane highway to Whistler. But the feds aren’t satisfied that enough is being done to protect fish-bearing streams along the way.

The narrow, winding road is known for its fatal accidents and widening it is also aimed at making it a safer route.

However, the Vancouver Province reports that in a letter to the agency written last month, Debra Hughes of Fisheries’s habitat enhancement branch says her department “is concerned with the Ministry of Transportation’s assertion that this project will not result in any residual effects.”

Peter Milburn, project manager, hopes the Department’s concerns won’t cause any delays in construction.

“I think it’s premature to talk about delays at this point,” Milburn told local media. “We’ve had some followup meetings and we’re developing a work plan that allows us to hopefully resolve these concerns It is our goal to make sure that we are resolving all of these issues so that the project can go ahead and we can undertake the needed safety and reliability improvements for this corridor.”

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