Island travelers bracing for busy weekend before Christmas

Island travelers bracing for busy weekend before Christmas
WatchWe are poised on the edge of one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. A massive snowfall has many drivers at a standstill in the bc interior. Jullan Kolsut tells us how is the weekend shaping up for those trying to get on and off Vancouver Island?

Travelers heading to and from the Island are bracing for a busy weekend, as Christmas is just around the corner.

But for some, their attempt to jump ahead of the historically busy weekend landed them in deep trouble.

More than half a metre of fresh snow landed on major highways in the province’s interior. All three major highways linking the Lower Mainland and the B.C. Interior are shut down, including northbound on the Coquihalla.

“Pretty unusual, even though we are used to heavy snow up there that’s extreme,” said David Duncan of Yellowhead Road and Bridge from the side of the highway.

“We are expecting another 15 to 17 centimetres tonight into tomorrow.”

It’s all happening on one of the busiest travel times of the year, but it was a very different story today in Victoria. Routes off the Island weren’t too busy.

But flights and ferries are expected to be packed.

“We do expect several hundred thousand customers to be traveling over the holiday season,” said B.C. Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall.

“We expect Friday Saturday and Sunday to be the busiest days.”

Victoria International Airport is also expecting a big jump in numbers.

“We are going to expect around 76,000 folks traveling through the next two weeks,” said YYJ’s Rod Hunchak.

“December 22nd to 21st is the busiest time, where we will see around 6,000 folks on one day alone.”

Travelers are feeling the squeeze.

“We have four times the amount of bags and four times the amount of stress,” said one woman preparing for her flight with her baby.

“We left yesterday from Toronto, then we flew in to Vancouver, and now we are taking the ferry from Victoria to Saltspring, a long day yes,” said one couple at B.C. Ferries.

Officials say the best thing you can do is give yourself extra time. Keep an eye on both Victoria airport‘s and B.C. Ferries’ websites.

With files from the CBC

Julian KolsutJulian Kolsut

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