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British Columbia Highway 101

Highway 101 marker

Highway 101

Sunshine Coast Highway
Map
Highway 101 highlighted in red.
Route information
Maintained by British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
Length156 km[1] (97 mi)
Existed1962–present
Major junctions
South end Langdale Ferry Terminal
Major intersections Earls CoveSaltery Bay ferry
North endLund Rd in Lund
Location
CountryCanada
ProvinceBritish Columbia
Regional districtsSunshine Coast, qathet
Major citiesPowell River
TownsGibsons
Highway system
Hwy 99 Hwy 113

British Columbia Highway 101, also known as the Sunshine Coast Highway, is the main north–south thoroughfare on the Sunshine Coast, British Columbia, Canada.

Highway 101, which first opened in 1962, is divided into two separate land segments, with a ferry link in between. The highway is maintained by Capilano Highway Services.[2] Despite its location on the mainland, the highway is unique for not being connected to the rest of the British Columbia highway system. Access to the highway can only be obtained by taking ferries from Horseshoe Bay to the south end in Gibsons or Comox to Powell River. Highway 101 between Langdale and Powell River is designated as a feeder route of the Canadian National Highway System.[3] The highway is sometimes considered by locals to be an extension of the much more famous U.S. Route 101 that runs all the way to Los Angeles, however there is a 300 km gap between the two highways and the origin of the BC-101's number may not be related to US 101.

Route description

Highway 101 on the Gibsons Bypass.

The total distance of Highway 101, including the ferry link, is approximately 156 kilometres (97 mi). The vast majority of the highway is an exceptionally curvy undivided 2 lane route with few passing opportunities. In general the highway experiences low traffic volumes due to its rural nature and lack of connection to other highways. However much of Highway 101s daily traffic comes in waves timed to when the ferries arrives as a large amount of vehicle suddenly unload onto the highway. The speed limit on the Highway is 80–60 km/h in rural areas and 50 km/h in towns.

South Section

The highway begins in the south at the BC Ferries terminal at Langdale, which connects the Sunshine Coast to Vancouver via a ferry route across Howe Sound to Horseshoe Bay. The southern land section of Highway 101 is 80 kilometres (50 mi) long. Immediately after leaving the Langdale Ferry terminal Highway 101 follows the Gibson's Bypass, a 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) long stretch of 4 lane divided highway that forms the only improved section of Highway 101. The Gibsons Bypass was built in 1995 and was originally intended to entirely bypass the town of Gibsons but the bypass currently abruptly terminates at a T intersection where Highway 101 traffic is forced to turn left onto a 2 lane route though the narrow streets and many signal lights of Gibsons's small commercial area. After leaving Gibsons the highway travels a busy 2 lane route for 20 kilometres (12 mi) though Roberts Creek, until arriving in the Sechelt, the only other major municipality in the area. In Sechelt the highway travels on a 4 lane Main Street before turning onto several other smaller community roads. North of Sechelt traffic on the highway thins out dramatically. For the next 60 kilometres (37 mi) to the Earls Cove Ferry Terminal the highway curves though granite outcrops, past lakes and patches of rainforest mixed with small farms. Towns along the way include Halfmoon Bay and Pender Harbour and many smaller hamlets located on the ocean. Near the ferry terminal a small paved side road branches off to Skookumchuck Narrows. The ferry link across the Jervis Inlet lasts 9.5 nautical miles (17.6 km) between Earls Cove to the south and Saltery Bay to the north.[4]

North Section

Ferry Terminal on Highway 101 at Saltery Bay

The 59-kilometre-long (37 mi) northern land section of Highway 101 curves its way along the Malaspina Strait through the hamlets of Stillwater and Lang Bay. It then enters the small city of Powell River forming its main street. It then crosses a narrow bridge over Powell Lake and soon enters the Tla'amin Nation Reservation. From there the highway downgrades to nothing more than a small rural road for the last 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) to the community of Lund, where the highway ends at a boat ramp and dock for the Savary Island water taxi.

Fixed link proposals

The provincial government has conducted several feasibility studies on connecting Highway 101 to the Lower Mainland, as well as replacing the Earls Cove–Saltery Bay ferry. A study launched by the BC Liberal government in 2015 identified four proposals costing between $2.1 billion and $4.4 billion:[5]

  • A 58-kilometre (36 mi) extension of Highway 101 along the west shore of Howe Sound that would connect to Highway 99 near Squamish.
  • A 22-kilometre (14 mi) extension of Highway 101 across Howe Sound on a pair of suspension bridges via the Anvil Island, with a connection to Highway 99 near Lions Bay. The Islands Trust opposes this option.
  • A new 200-kilometre (120 mi) highway connecting Powell River to Squamish with a pair of tunnels under the Coast Mountains.
  • A 19-kilometre (12 mi) highway link between the two sections of Highway 101 eliminating the ferry between Saltery Bay and Earls Cove via a pair of suspension bridges.

All four options were considered feasible, with positive cost to benefit ratios for the two bridge options. The study was inconclusive and recommended further analysis of the four options.[6] The NDP government announced in December 2017 that the study would not move forward due to technical and financial issues.[5]

Major intersections

Milestone marker in Lund designating a terminus of the highway.

From south to north:

Regional DistrictLocationkm[1]miDestinationsNotes
Sunshine CoastLangdale0.000.00 Langdale Ferry Terminal – BC Ferries to Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal ( Hwy 1 east / Hwy 99)
0.930.58Marine Drive (Hwy 912:2566 south) / Port Mellon Highway (Hwy 912:2565 north) – Gibsons, Port Mellon
Gibsons4.072.53Reed Road
4.893.04Gibsons Way, School RoadHwy 101 branches west
6.103.79Pratt Road, Payne Road
Roberts Creek15.409.57Roberts Creek Road
Sechelt41.2525.63Field Road
Sechelt First Nation25.8016.03Ti'Ta Way
Sechelt26.2616.32Dolphin Street, Wharf Avenue
28.8417.92Norwest Bay Road
Madeira Park58.0936.10Madeira Park Road (Hwy 912:2573 north)
Earls Cove80.2949.89Earls Cove ferry terminal
Jervis Inlet Earls Cove – Saltery Bay Ferry
Approximately 17.6 km (9.5 nmi)[4]
qathetSaltery Bay97.8960.83Saltery Bay ferry terminal
Powell River125.1177.74Joyce Avenue
128.6779.95 Wharf Street (Hwy 911:2576 west) / Westview Avenue – FerriesAccess to Texada Island and Comox via ferry
129.6180.54Alberni Street, Abbotsford Street
133.6683.05Arbutus Avenue, Marine Avenue
Lund156.3697.16 Lund Water Taxi – Passenger Ferry to Savary Island
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

References

  1. ^ a b Landmark Kilometre Inventory (PDF). British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (Report). Cypher Consulting. July 2017. pp. 590–597.
  2. ^ "Highway Maintenance". Capilano Highway Services. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  3. ^ National Highway System (PDF). Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (Report). Government of British Columbia. p. 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 15, 2013. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "BC Ferries Schedules: Sechelt - Powell River (Earls Cove-Saltery Bay)". BC Ferries. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Watson, Bridgette (December 7, 2017). "Province scraps plan for fixed link to Sunshine Coast". CBC News. Retrieved August 3, 2021.

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British Columbia Highway 101
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