Malahat Backlog: Non-essential travellers are clogging the damaged highway

Malahat Backlog: Non-essential travellers are clogging the damaged highway

There are long lines and lengthy delays, as traffic is backed up for hours on the Malahat Highway, thanks to overnight closures and single-lane, alternating traffic during the day.

“It’s a little stressful for sure, not knowing when things are going to happen when things are going to move,” a B.C. Transit driver whose bus was stuck in the backlog told CHEK News.

“Honestly, I’m feeling a little triggered but this is Mother Nature so I have no control over that,” another man added.

Record rainfall submerged this section of the Trans Canada Highway under more than a metre of water Monday, destroying a retaining wall and compromising the structure of the road.

New photos from the area show the extent of the damage, which will take several more days to repair.

“We’re doing everything we can that is possible to get transportation links open and get people and goods moving,” Transportation Minister Rob Fleming told reporters Wednesday. “No resources will be spared.”

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Until then, it’s essential travel only on the Malahat. However, Emcon says commuters and leisure travellers are clogging the road.

One driver CHEK News spoke with Wednesday morning admitted he was coming down from Duncan to visit his girlfriend in Victoria on his day off.

“I didn’t quite understand the extent, like, how bad this was going to be,” he said.

Emcon says all the non-essential vehicles are making it harder for highway repair crews to get back and forth, and it’s also delaying much-needed gas and food deliveries.

“I encourage everyone not to travel, unless it is essential,” urged Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth. “Our transportation infrastructure is crippled and we need to ensure it comes back online as quickly as possible.”

The Malahat will be closed every day from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. until Nov. 22.

People travelling for essential reasons should give themselves lots of time as it may take up to two to three hours to get through, depending on traffic.

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Be sure to check Drive BC for the latest road conditions.


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