Cleanup continues after snow leaves vehicles trapped on the Malahat

Cleanup continues after snow leaves vehicles trapped on the Malahat
Roadside crews haul away a van struck on the Malahat following Tuesday's snowstorm. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022.

Roadside crews are keeping busy.

On Wednesday, tow truck operators were seen removing vehicles left behind by drivers unable to navigate the snow-covered Malahat, mainly due to not having the proper tires, according to Andrew Gaetz.

“Majority do not,” said Gaetz, Quality Assurance and Operations manager at Emcon Services Inc., a B.C.-based road maintenance company.

The trouble started Tuesday afternoon, particularly between Tunnel Hill and the South Shawnigan Lake turnoff, as snow began to fall and drivers spun their vehicles, grinding traffic to a halt.

“A lot of the vehicles we removed [Wednesday] morning did not have winter tires. They probably should not have been travelling over the Malahat,” Gaetz told CHEK News.

“It’s a provincial law to have winter tires.”

Winter tires or all-season mud and snow tires with a minimum tread depth of 3.5 millimetres are required for all drivers on the Malahat from Oct. 1 to March 31. Those not meeting the requirement face a fine of $121 if caught.

“The bigger trucks lose momentum and then don’t make it up the hill. Then our plows get stuck behind that truck and those vehicles. And it backs right up,” Gaetz said.

During Tuesday’s high winds, an 80-metre-long barge ran aground in rough waters off Esquimalt between Harrison Island and McLoughlin Point, with the Coast Guard confirming tow lines snapped.

Crew members onboard worked to lighten the barge pumping out water and re-attaching tow lines in the reprieve before another storm is expected to strike the coast Friday.

But Brian Proctor, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, says the incoming storm appears to pack a smaller punch when compared to Tuesday’s.

“I think for sort of mid-to-late afternoon, we should be seeing precipitation falling,” Proctor said.

“[It will] probably be [in] the low-elevation areas of the city [and] likely be mixed rain and snow. But some of the higher elevation areas get a little bit, in the Saanich Inlet area, and up over the Malahat.”

The meteorologist adds that anyone travelling should be prepared for winter as conditions can vary significantly, even in Greater Victoria.

READ ALSO: Stalls, crashes and lack of winter tires make snow-slicked Malahat a ‘parking lot’

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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