Island businesses want alternate route out of Victoria, around Malahat

Island businesses want alternate route out of Victoria, around Malahat

WATCH: The traffic chaos and backlog caused by the Malahat’s shutdown on Thursday left many companies trying to catch up Friday. From couriers and trucking companies to tourism operators, the shutdown hurt bottom lines and they all say an alternate route out of Victoria is critical to going forward.

Brian Hunt spent Friday scrambling to catch up on deliveries after Thursday’s crash on the Malahat ground traffic to a halt and closed the highway for 14 hours.

“It tied up a lot of traffic. A lot of people had to go the long way home,” said the Nanaimo based driver for Ken’s Transfer & Couriers.

The closure impacted thousands of people and businesses.

“It’s definitely devastating,” said Shawn Carlson of Ken’s Transfer & Couriers.

“It’s huge. It absolutely is huge it cost us quite a bit of money like I would say 50 per cent on top of what we usually do,” said Carlson.

Hunt has learned the van involved in Thursday’s crash belonged to a courier who was out on a delivery.

“It’s scary when something like that happens. You get to know these people,” said Hunt. “You get to know them when you’re on the road.”

Family-run Ken’s Transfer offers daily delivery to Victoria from points across the Island and Thursday’s shut down sparked chaos while drivers trying to meet the needs of customers.

“It was very chaotic,” said Carlson.

“It was nuts.”

Meanwhile, businesses relying on parts and services from Victoria, like Duncan’s P & R Truck Centre waited for the highway to reopen or used the circle route through Lake Cowichan that took some drivers five hours.

“It’s tough because we get a lot of our supplies and what have you out of the city,” said P & R Truck Centre’s Andrew Polack.

So businesses are calling for an urgent solution to the Malahat highway.

“Well I think it would be wise for the safety of people too because it’s pretty dangerous,” said Polack.

Carlson wants a real alternate route to be built.

“The best thing that they could do in my opinion is put a bridge from Brentwood to Mill Bay,” said Carlson.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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