More than five kilometres of Highway 1, from Shawnigan Lake Road to Aspen Road, are now open to four lanes of traffic as the Malahat Safety Improvement project wraps up.
The completion of the project also means that 65% of the highway is now protected with a median barrier, with more safety and reliability upgrades being immediately explored.
“Thank you to the contractor and workers for getting this vital project completed,” said Premier John Horgan, MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. “And thank you to the travelling public for your patience while this project proceeded. Meanwhile, we will continue to look at options to keep traffic moving when accidents occur on the Malahat/Goldstream section.”
One of the areas of focus is the Goldstream park area, where the next steps are being taken to move people safely and more efficiently through the southern Malahat. Engineering work is scheduled to start early in 2019 and will explore building an additional 1.5 kilometres of median barriers north of the West Shore Parkway to just north of Finlayson Arm Road.
“We all know that the Malahat shuts down when there are accidents, cutting the South Island off,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “This is an important route and people expect their lives will not be put on hold because of a road closure. We are working expeditiously on short- and long-term solutions.”
The minister has directed staff to explore the viability of a second route around the Malahat in case of an emergency. The ministry is analyzing the scope, location and size of this potential emergency route and will be ready to share more information later in the fall.
"The Cowichan Valley is growing fast and requires major upgrades to our infrastructure and transportation options. This is a step forward and I am pleased that the minister has recognized the urgency of the situation,” said Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley. “I look forward to working with government to develop a long-term plan for multi-modal transportation.”
To assist with the long-term vision and improvements for the Malahat, the ministry has issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) on BC Bid to assist with projects that will potentially explore future corridor widening, as well as safety, capacity and intersection improvements.
The $34-million Malahat Village Safety Improvements that have been completed include:
- expanding five kilometres of highway to four lanes with wider shoulders
- installing three kilometres of median barrier
- providing improved and safer highway access through a frontage and backage road system with a new turnaround facility, and improved overhead lighting at intersections to help ensure safer access on and off the highway
Drivers are advised that there could be sporadic lane closures during the month of October, from Shawnigan Lake Road to Aspen Road, to make minor adjustments as necessary and for site cleanup.
- On an average day, approximately 24, 000 vehicles travel along the Malahat corridor. That number often increases to approximately 30, 000 vehicles during busy summer travel months.
For project information, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/malahatsafetyimprovements