Malahat Highway expected to remain closed overnight as crews deal with storm fallout

Malahat Highway expected to remain closed overnight as crews deal with storm fallout
Emcon Services BC
Road instability shut down the Malahat Highway at Westshore Parkway Monday, Nov. 15, 2021.

The only major highway linking Greater Victoria with communities north of the Malahat will remain closed in both directions overnight.

Emcon, the company that provides road clearing services for many B.C. highways, said the Trans-Canada Highway — often called the Malahat or Malahat Highway — is expected to stay closed overnight Monday as crews deal with road instability caused by 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” and that the next update was scheduled for 8 a.m. Tuesday.

The highway was initially shut down just after 9 a.m. 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.”

Crews were attempting to remove the centre barrier on the highway so flood water had somewhere to go, but did not know how long it would take.

Elsewhere on the South Island, crews reported that Sooke Road was flooded at Impala Road in Sooke, making it impassable for some vehicles.

Drive BC later reported that Sooke Road was closed in both directions due to the flooding, effectively cutting off the main route in and out of Sooke on the South Island. Just after 5 p.m. Emcon said Sooke Road had reopened at Impala in both directions.

Cowichan Valley

A handful of highways and roads in the Cowichan Valley, including the Trans-Canada Highway at Mount Sicker Road, were shut down Monday due to flooding.

Shortly after 10:30 a.m., Drive BC reported that southbound lanes of the Trans-Canada Highway were also closed at Henry Road in Chemainus due to flooding, with no estimated time of reopening.

Chemainus Road — also called Highway 1A — was also shut down between Westholme Road and Crofton Road.

In Duncan, Allenby Road was closed between Miller and Boys roads due to a mudslide, according to Emcon. Drivers were asked to use alternate routes until the debris could be cleared. The Cowichan Valley Regional District has issued an evacuation order to a handful of properties along Allenby Road.

Emcon also reported that Cowichan Bay Road was flooded between Tzouhalem Road and the highway, with a detour available on Bench Road.

Briarwood Drive in Mill Bay was also impacted by flooding, with the road washed out. According to Emcon, crews are working on creating a temporary bridge.

Meanwhile, West Shawnigan Lake Road has been closed in both directions between Orme Road and Shawnigan Lake Road due to flooding as well.

Port Alberni

On the west side of Vancouver Island, Highway 4 at Kennedy Hill between Port Alberni and Parksville was closed both ways as crews dealt with a rockfall, but it was declared open once again just before 4:30 p.m. Monday.

In an emergency news conference Monday morning, B.C. Deputy Transportation Minister Jenelle Staite said crews would provide an estimated time of reopening for many of the roads once water receded.

“The water is just so high and continues to travel across the highway. Until that weather system…slows down, we’re going to see volume very high across the road,” she said.

“Safety is our number one priority and once the water recedes we’re able to take an assessment to see any damage.”

A full list of road closures can be found by visiting DriveBC’s website or clicking here.

READ MORE: ‘Copious amounts of rain’ expected on Vancouver Island through Monday morning

Highway 1 at Mount Sicker Road in the Cowichan Valley was flooded Monday, Nov. 15, 2021.
Jeff LawrenceJeff Lawrence
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