Officials announce improvements to increase safety on the Malahat highway in 2016. That work is now getting underway. (Citizen file)

Plan for waits on Malahat as highway work begins

Motorists should expect delays of approximately 20 minutes

While crews will try to keep the most disruptive work for non-peak times, drivers should plan for significant delays on the Malahat highway for the next year.

Motorists should expect delays of approximately 20 minutes on Highway 1 between Shawnigan Lake Road and Aspen Road, officials warned in a press release Thursday afternoon, and are advised to allow for extra travel time during construction, especially on Friday and Sunday afternoons as well as long weekends.

To ensure the safety of travellers, one northbound lane is closed over approximately five kilometres for the duration of the project. Drivers are asked to use both lanes up to the merge point and then alternate when merging (like a zipper) for best efficiency.

In addition, intermittent traffic stoppages will be required for tree clearing, blasting and other activities but will occur outside peak periods (6 a.m. – 9 a.m. southbound and 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. northbound). Certain tasks will also be done at night when traffic volumes are lowest. Construction zone speed limits are in effect 24/7 until the project is finished in summer 2018.

The work will expand five kilometres of highway to four lanes with wide shoulders, install three kilometres of median barrier, improve overhead lighting at intersections and change highway access for driveways and side roads.

Motorists are reminded to obey traffic control personnel, watch for workers, and pay special attention to signs because traffic patterns will be changing throughout the project. For up-to-date traffic advisories, please check: http://www.drivebc.ca/

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