Since 2009, there have been 40 closures on the Malahat, of which seven were longer than four hours in duration. The longest one was 21 hours. (Black Press Media file photo)

Province says ‘no’ to alternative detour route on Malahat

Environmental, property, engineering and community disruption to blame

An alternative detour route for the Malahat isn’t coming down the pipeline anytime soon, according to study by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

“All routes were determined to have environmental, engineering, property and community disruption impacts — some to greater degrees than others,” says the study released Monday.

The report looks at seven possible emergency routes that could be activated during long highway closures.

It pointed out that closures on the Malahat long enough to trigger calls for a detour were too infrequent, around 1.1 incidents a year on average.

Approximately 22,000 vehicles travel through the traffic artery daily.

READ MORE: Study on Malahat road closures expected by end of year

Since 2009, there have been 40 closures on the Malahat, of which seven were longer than four hours. The longest was 21 hours.

The Pacific Marine Circle Route, which takes an extra 3.5 hours to drive, remains the main detour in the event of a long highway closure.

“We have to stop focusing on what we can’t control, like mother nature, and instead focus on what we can,” said Chris Foord, vice chair of the Capital Regional District Traffic Safety Commission.

Foord pointed out that speed is one of his biggest concerns.

More than a dozen vehicles were impounded for seven days on Sunday, Dec. 8 for excessive speed while travelling southbound on the Malahat into Victoria.

“We only put about five hours enforcement out there, and if you do the math we’re getting almost [four] an hour,” said Acting Staff Sgt. Ron Cronk, of the Integrated Road Safety Unit. He added that it’s a continuous problem for that stretch of the highway.

This doesn’t include the multiple instances semi-trucks have had trouble along the narrow route.

Last month, a confused semi driver went the wrong way on the Malahat and backed up traffic in both directions on Nov. 12. Then, a stalled truck near Ice Cream Mountain heavily delayed southbound traffic on Nov. 28.

Mother nature and the Malahat aren’t strangers. On Nov. 17, a small rockslide stopped northbound lanes for four hours and on Nov. 27, a fallen tree paused northbound lanes for two hours.

RELATED: An alternate route for Malahat shouldn’t go through Sooke watershed, says CRD director

Currently, work is underway on a project to widen Highway 1 between Leigh Road and the West Shore Parkway, which will include adding a centre median barrier.

The province is also looking at adding 1.5 kilometres of median barrier to the highway north of the West Shore Parkway to just north of Finlayson Arm Road.

Read the full report at bit.ly/malahatstudy.

aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com


@iaaronguillen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PQBeat: Qualicum Beach musician, lawyer Phil Dwyer

Juno Award winner talks music legends, ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’ and more

Parksville athlete sprints her way to the University of B.C.

Desvaux looks forward to joining T-Birds track and field team

COVID-19: Tourism Vancouver Island aims to help businesses survive

Revenue loss associated with a slow summer will be a big hit

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

COVID-19 birthday drive-by celebrations snuffed out in Island community

Bylaw officer visit with threats of a fine mean parade trucks taken off the road

Incoming: Income tax deadlines arrive

2019 individual tax returns are due June 1, June 15 for self-employed individuals

Vancouver Island Regional Libraries to offer ‘takeout’ style services

VIRL will offer the service on a branch-by-branch basis

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Most Read