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

Nanaimo theft victim confronts suspects with baseball bat

Nanaimo RCMP seek identify of two people alleged to have used a stolen credit card

VIU professor concerned about myths around insect apocalypse

Jasmine Janes’s work published in peer-reviewed journal BioScience

Clerk bruised, traumatized after armed robbery at Quarterway Liquor Store

Few details on male suspect in Wednesday incident, says Nanaimo RCMP

VIU Mariners teams back on home court

Volleyball, basketball teams hosting action all weekend at Vancouver Island University gym

City of Nanaimo reaches settlement with fired chief operations officer

Brad McRae had launched human rights complaint after being fired while on medical leave

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

Crown won’t appeal sentence in child sex assault case of former Burns Lake mayor

B.C. Prosecution Service said sentence doesn’t meet standard for appeal

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Beefs & Bouquets, Jan. 16

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

B.C. offers $5 million equipment loan program to help ailing forest contractors

Local politicians in Port McNeill and Campbell River says local economies are struggling

Vancouver Island distillery wins award for best Canadian rye whisky

Shelter Point cleans up at Canadian Whisky Awards

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

One last blast of winter tonight for parts of the Island before temperatures on the rise

A snowfall warning is in effect Friday including east Vancouver Island.

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

Most Read