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

Lexi Bainas column: Singers, actors needed for thre exciting upcoming productions

‘The Winter’s Tale’, ‘Little Women’, and Mass for St. Cecilia are all calling: are you up for them?

Robert Barron column: Winter can be hard, but it brings back good memories

I would carefully poke the handle of the shovel through the snow until it bumped into a solid object

Andrea Rondeau column: What are your time capsule must-haves?

It would also be fun to include some pop culture mementos that represent our time.

Climbers compete for Choc and Chalk

Annual competition attracts more than 100

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Most Read