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)

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

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

Just Posted

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event in 2019 saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge. Black Press File Photo
Extinction Rebellion activists march from Vancouver to Victoria this weekend

The four-day trek ends at the B.C. legislature Monday, protest province’s environmental policy

A rider crosses a “skinny” on the newly opened trail known as 90s Jank, built within the Hartland system by volunteers with the South Island Mountain Bike Society. (Youtube/MTB Matt)
Mountain bikers celebrate first new trail in years on Saanich’s Mount Work

90s Jank trail a product of licence agreement between CRD and mountain bike society

The hiring of out-of-province workers by the Canadian Red Cross to staff the vaccination centre in Langford has raised eyebrows. (Black Press Media file photo)
Red Cross hires out-of-province workers to staff Langford vaccination centre

Staffer worries local jobs weren’t offered to local people

A weekend of sunny skies may have Victoria breaking temperature records, according to an Environment Canada meteorologist. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Temperature records eyed for Victoria with sunny weekend forcast

Victoria hit the highest April 14 temperature since 1926 on Wednesday

Fire crews respond to the 3500-block of Blanshard Street in Saanich on April 16. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
UPDATED: BC Hydro crews repairing failed electrical equipment in Saanich

Vernon Avenue reopen to traffic following closure

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: Lookout Lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

For Leela Harrop, the recent death of her brother Raju Tiwari pushed her to sign up for the vaccine. Photo supplied
Island woman on fence about vaccine prompted by brother’s death

Leela Harrop of Comox says she did have issues with signing up online this past week

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Photo by Metro Creative Connection
New campgrounds coming to B.C. parks as part of $83M provincial boost

This season alone, 185 campsites are being added to provincial parks, says Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Most Read