A further $34 million will be invested in the Malahat road corridor to increase safety on that section of the Trans Canada Highway, the province announced on July 27.
Todd Stone, B.C.’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, said the funding will be used to upgrade five kilometres of the Trans Canada Highway where it passes through Malahat Village, just south of the Cowichan Valley.
The improvements include expanding the five kilometres of highway from two to four lanes with wider shoulders, installing three kilometres of median barriers and providing improved and safer highway access from side roads.
When the highway upgrade is complete, 65 per cent of the Malahat section of the highway will have median barriers.
The work is expected to begin in early 2017, and be completed in 2018.
Ottawa is contributing $14 million towards the project, and the province is providing $20 million.
Stone said with this safety upgrade, approximately $67 million has been invested in safety improvements along the Malahat corridor since 2001.
“Improving highway safety along the Malahat corridor has been identified as a critical priority by people up and down the Island,” he said at a news conference on the side of the highway where the improvements will be made.
“The highway upgrades will increase safety, provide more passing opportunities for motorists and decrease travel times. Through our valuable partnership with the Government of Canada, it’s great to move forward with this project, which has been identified as the next priority in the B.C. On the Move [Transportation Plan]”.
RCMP Sgt. James Anderson from Island District Traffic Services, said the highway upgrades are “very welcome” by the police and first responders who have had to deal with the aftermath of numerous collisions over the years along the Malahat corridor.
“There’s no substitute for safe driving, but these improvements will lead to a reduction in collisions and that’s something the police and first responders strive for every day,” he said.
Amarjeet Sohi, the federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, said the project will create jobs and help open the country to new economic, social and environmental possibilities.
“It’s thanks to initiatives like the Malahat safety improvement project that we will build 21st-century communities and ensure a high quality of life for generations to come,” he said.