WATCH: Thousands of people were stranded after a serious crash by Goldstream shut down the Trans-Canada Highway. Tess van Straaten reports.
A serious fuel truck crash Thursday morning brought traffic to a standstill on the busy Trans-Canada Highway on either side of Goldstream Park.
“It’s going to be a long day,” says truck driver Dale Halldorson. “Hopefully not too much longer.”
“I’m so close to home yet so far and I’ve been saying this for years and everyone else has, why we don’t have another way out of Victoria?” asks stranded driver Tony McCauley.
Facing a potential 10 or even 12-hour wait, big rigs tried to turn around and some drivers even decided to ditch their cars and try to walk.
But for some stranded travellers, it was literally a life and death situation.
“I’m on my way to Ladysmith,” says Father George Tolias.”One of my parishioners is very ill over there and I am on my way to give the last rights to this poor soul and now I am stuck here.”
To prevent the highway from backing up, northbound traffic was being stopped at the West Shore Parkway and re-directed. But as rush hour traffic built up, the bottlenecks were only expected to get worse.
That’s why many drivers, hoping to get out of Victoria before the traffic got worse, rushed to Brentwood Bay to try and can catch the ferry to Mill Bay.
“I was stuck on the highway, no one was moving, people were getting out to walk their dogs and I thought, I don’t want to sit with an eight-month-old in traffic so pulled a U-turn and came out to Brentwood,” says Stacey Caddell, who was first in line for the ferry.
“As soon as I saw the highway was closed, I turned around right away and came here,” adds delivery driver Chris Irving. “I didn’t want to get stuck in Victoria this evening.”
By early afternoon, hundreds of vehicles lined the road, backed up all the way to Brentwood Village, and there was already a three-sailing wait, prompting BC Ferries to add extra sailings.
Back near the accident scene, a Mainroad pilot truck was leading vehicles through the Finlayson Arm Road detour but only 20 to 30 vehicles can go at a time. Drive BC said drivers going northbound will see lengthy delays due to heavy congestion. No commercial vehicles are allowed through the road.
The highway isn’t expected to reopen until 4 a.m. Friday. Click here for the latest update from Drive B.C. For all alternate routes, including the Pacific Marine Circle Route, visit the Mainroad website.