MLA suggests converting gravel logging road into major route

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MAPLE RIDGE, B.C. — A local MLA is pushing for the paving of a gravel logging road road from Maple Ridge to Pemberton to provide a second option for travel to Whistler.

MLA Ken Stewart drove part of the road in a four-wheel drive vehicle, and he says paving it would create a safer alternate to the current Sea-to-Sky Highway and could ultimately create a direct link to the U.S. border once the new bridge over the Fraser River is built.

“I’ve always been a proponent of some other route up to Whistler,” Steward tells local media. “It deserves some merit and thought.”

Many truckers using the Sea-to-Sky Highway for hauling logs are also hopeful for an alternate route.

There has been talk of converting the existing road into a safer and more user-friendly route since the late 1960s when the proposal was dubbed the Sasquatch Highway. The route begins in Maple Ridge, traverses Golden Ears Provincial Park, follows the Harrison corridor on the west side of Harrison Lake, passes Whistler mountain and joins Pemberton.

“It’s a little rough,” says Steward. “But a lot less of a grade than the Sea-to-Sky Highway.”

Dan Mayberry, spokesman for the B.C. Ministry of Transportation, was quick to poke holes in the proposal.

“It doesn’t fit provincial needs, linking a provincial route to a provincial route,” says Mayberry.

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