UPDATE: Malahat Highway to close overnight for repairs following flooding

Emcon Services

In the latest update regarding the Malahat Highway, the Ministry of Transportation has told CHEK News that the road will be closed down in the evening from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The closure will take place at Tunnel Hill and the Ministry of Transportation says it plans to continue to close the road throughout the week and into the weekend.

While on Tuesday the road will close at 7 p.m., the Ministry says that between November 17 and November 22, the stretch of highway will be closed from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The evening closures will allow the Ministry of Transportation, along with Emcon Services, to restore parts of the highway which sustained damage due to flooding.

The Malahat was re-opened to single-lane alternating traffic this morning at approximately 9 a.m. following a geotechnical assessment that was completed in the wake of yesterday’s storm.

Road crews pulled a highway barrier to facilitate traffic movement and will be allowing for single-lane alternating traffic for 30-minute intervals during the day.

“Drivers should expect major delays during daytime openings and consider limiting travel for essential purposes only,” reads a statement from the Ministry.

The Pacific Marine route is open as an alternate route and the Brentwood Bay to Mill Bay Ferry is an additional alternative route for those requiring travel. The ferry is operating with its regular daytime hours.

The major highway linking Greater Victoria with communities up-Island remained closed in both directions overnight following an “atmospheric river” that brought heavy rains and flooding to the area.

Emcon, the company that provides road clearing services for many B.C. highways, opted to keep the road closed overnight due to road instability caused by the surging floods that turned the roadway into a river.

The company said a geotechnical assessment performed on the Malahat could not confirm road stability “due to volumes of water still at the site,” with crews pushing back the assessment until this morning.

The highway was initially shut down just after 9 a.m. yesterday due to flooding north of Finlayson Arm Road. It was briefly reopened at around 10:15 a.m., then quickly closed once again due to concerns over road instability.

A manager for Emcon told CHEK News the company has never seen conditions like this on the South Island, saying that water is going “where it’s never gone before.”

This story will be updated once more is learned about the conditions of the Malahat Highway.

READ MORE: Flooding in Parksville, Qualicum Beach area leads to evacuations


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