British Columbia Highway 99

British Columbia Highway 99

Infobox road
alternate_name=Granville Street, Main Street, Oak Street, Upper Levels Highway, Sea to Sky Highway, Duffey Lake Road, Richmond-Delta Thruway, Vancouver-Blaine Freeway

starting_terminus=Jct|state=WA|I|5 at United States border in Surrey

Highway 99 is the major north-south artery through Metro Vancouver. The number of this highway is derived from the old U.S. Highway 99, which the highway originally connected with at the Canada-U.S. boundary. The highway currently connects with Interstate 5 at the international border.

This highway was originally designated '99' in 1942, and it originally shared an alignment with Highway 1 from Surrey to Vancouver. The current freeway alignment of Highway 99, between 8th Avenue in South Surrey and the Fraser River between Richmond and Vancouver opened in 1962. Between 1964 and 1973, the freeway alignment of Highway 99 was designated Highway 499.

In 1957, the northern end of Highway 99 was moved from downtown Vancouver, across the Lions' Gate Bridge and west to the village of Horseshoe Bay, following Marine Drive through West Vancouver. Highway 99 was re-aligned to the Upper Levels Highway and extended to Britannia Beach one year later, being extended further to Squamish in 1959, and then to Pemberton in 1966. Finally, in 1992, the just-paved Duffey Lake Road between Pemberton and Lillooet was made part of Highway 99, and the section of Highway 12 between Lillooet and Highway 97, was re-numbered 99.

Route details

Highway 99 South

The total length of Highway 99 from the US border to the Highway 97 junction is 409 km (254 mi). In the south, Highway 99 begins at the Douglas border crossing at the Peace Arch, with a four-lane freeway configuration. Highway 99 travels through Surrey 12 km (7 mi) due northwest from the border, through four interchanges, and then turns west for 4 km (2½ mi) before reaching the junction with Highway 91, marking the highway's entry into the Corporation of Delta. 4 km (2½ mi) west, Highway 99 reaches its junction with Highway 10. 8 km (5 mi) later, Highway 99 reaches a junction with Highway 17. Another 2 km (1¼ mi) northwest, Highway 99 crosses into Richmond through the George Massey Tunnel under the south arm of the Fraser River.

Through Richmond, Highway 99 travels 7 km (4 mi) north, through one interchange, to the junction with the other end of Highway 91. Another 4 km (2½ mi) northwest, the southern freeway section of Highway 99 ends as the highway crosses the north arm of the Fraser River, over the Oak Street Bridge, into Vancouver.

City of Vancouver

The 30 km (19 mi) long route through Vancouver's city streets starts off going for 1 km (about ½ mi) north on Oak Street to the intersection with West 70th Avenue. Highway 99 then goes west on West 70th [However, turning left (west) from Oak onto 70th is not permitted. When travelling in the opposite direction, turning right from 70th onto Oak is permitted.] for 1 km (about ½ mi), and then turns right onto Granville Street. Highway 99 takes Granville Street north for 7 km (4 mi), crossing over False Creek into the downtown core. Highway 99 goes northeast by way of Seymour Street through downtown for 1 km (about ½ mi) (southbound it uses Howe Street), then turns northwest onto Georgia Street for 2 km (1¼ mi) before entering Stanley Park. Highway 99 proceeds north for 4 km (2½ mi) through Stanley Park and over the Lions' Gate Bridge into West Vancouver at Marine Drive.

The Trans-Canada Highway/Upper Levels Highway

In West Vancouver, Highway 99 goes west on Marine Drive for 1 km (about ½ mi) , then turns right onto Taylor Way for another 1 km (about ½ mi), finally reaching its junction with Highway 1. Highway 99 shares the Upper Levels Highway with Highway 1 for 12 km (7 mi) west before diverging from Highway 1 just before the B.C. Ferry terminal at Horseshoe Bay.

ea-to-Sky Highway and beyond

The "Sea-to-Sky Highway" is the name given to the section of Highway 99 starting just north of Horseshoe Bay. From Horseshoe Bay, the highway travels along the coast of Howe Sound for 12 km (7 mi) to Lions Bay, north for another 21 km (13 mi) to Britannia Beach, and north for 11 more km (7 mi) to Squamish, at the head of Howe Sound. From Squamish, it is another 58 km (36 mi) north to Whistler, and then to Pemberton 32 km (20 mi) later, where the Sea-to-Sky Highway ends and Duffy Lake Road begins. 99 km (62 mi) northeast, Highway 99 reaches the junction with Highway 12 at Lillooet, and then goes northeast for another 75 km (47 mi) to its northern terminus at its junction with Highway 97, just north of Cache Creek.

The "Sea to Sky Highway" section of Highway 99 has a checkered history. Built on a steep cliff overlooking Howe Sound, it was a two-lane undivided highway with no outside barrier. Many motorists have lost their lives on it due to inclement weather, poor visibility, or drunk driving. (Local media at one point started calling it the "Drive-to-Die Highway".)

As part of the 2010 Winter Olympics bid, the British Columbia provincial government has authorized upgrading the highway to accommodate greater traffic loads, widening the highway and adding a concrete divider. Starting in 2002 a large section between Squamish and Whistler was upgraded, and as of December 2005, a segment of the southern section upgrade opened with a fully divided four lane section that runs from Ansell Place to Lions Bay. Construction preparations continue for further sections that will likely result in a similar divided four lane route through to Whistler by 2010. On August 29th, 2008, a 50m long, 50ft high rockfall closed both the highway and the adjacent railtrack just north of Lions Bay. [ ] A new alignment of Highway 99 over the Eagleridge Bluffs is being built; however, on-site protests delayed its construction. Protesters claimed that a tunnel under the bluffs was a safer and more environmentally-friendly alternative [] .

Exit list

Vancouver–Blaine Freeway segment

Note: highlight|Exits highlighted with blue|#eeeeff are under construction

ea-to-Sky Highway segment

Note: highlight|Exits highlighted with yellow|#ffffdd are at-grade intersections highlight|Exits highlighted with blue|#eeeeff are under construction


*Musician Jon Bon Jovi named one of his hit albums "Slippery When Wet" in 1986. He had travelled on this highway from Whistler, British Columbia, where there are many signs bearing the term "Slippery When Wet", and had taken a liking to the phrase.
*A popular video game by Accolade in 1989 called "" used visual cues from the "Sea to Sky" section of this highway between Horseshoe Bay and Squamish.
*The same stretch of "Sea to Sky" Highway is used in countless automobile commercials in Canada, the United States, and abroad.
*The George Massey Tunnel connecting Richmond and Delta is the lowest portion of road below sea level in all of Canada.
*Previous to early 2006, when travelling southbound through Richmond, two separate exits are given the designation of "Exit 39A"—one is Sea Island Way, and the other is No. 4 Road. The No. 4 Road exit is now designated as "39B".
*In 2006 the UK's "The Guardian" newspaper named the Sea to Sky the 5th most beautiful highway in the world. [The Guardian Newspaper [,,1744039,00.html,,1744039,00.html] ]


External links

* [ Sea-to-Sky Highway Improvement Project, Eagleridge Bluffs] (PDF)
* [ Site on protests against highway over Eagleridge Bluffs]

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