Details on emergency alternatives for Malahat highway expected in coming days

Details on emergency alternatives for Malahat highway expected in coming days

WATCH: The Ministry of Transportation says it will release details about a study into Malahat highway alternatives in the next few days. April Lawrence reports.

In May 2018 drivers were left scrambling when the Malahat highway was shut down for 14 hours after a fuel truck crashed.

Then in August, there was another full day closure after a fatal crash involving a sewage truck and just a month after that a rock fall left commuters stranded for hours.

Now the Ministry of Transportation says it will release official details in the coming days about a study into Malahat alternatives. It’s something Transportation Minister Claire Trevena hinted at last year.

“The main issue is to ensure that people can move throughout the south island safely and efficiently and trying to find ways that can happen as easily as possible,” she said in May.

One of the possible bypasses that have been studied before is Niagara Main which goes through Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Park.

But this weekend CRD director and Victoria city councillor Ben Isitt slammed that option, in a Facebook post on his public page saying “I am therefore going to fight the proposal to ram a highway through the wilderness. I hope that citizens and environmental organizations will join this fight until the proposal is abandoned.”

But Chris Foord, Vice-Chair of the CRD Traffic Safety Commission, says an emergency route is needed when the Malahat is shut down and he believes any environmental impacts could be kept to a minimum.

“I doubt very much any route being considered would be within the Sooke Lake watershed,” Foord said.

“It’s time to take a look and see what they are and cost what they are and I hope we can open up something relatively quickly.”

Foord hopes the Ministry will also announce plans to study longer-term solutions to the Malahat, like an entirely new highway route.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!