OUR VIEW: Need to look at more than just emergency Malahat bypass

Anyone who’s lived north of the Malahat for any length of time knows that there has been a need for an alternative route to get to Victoria basically forever.

Currently, the only time-efficient way to get any volume of traffic from up-Island to Victoria and surrounding south-Island communities is over the Malahat highway.

While the situation is better than it used to be because the province has widened the road in several places, there remain bottlenecks (notably at Goldstream Park) where, if there is a crash, traffic is completely blocked, sometimes for many hours. With hundreds of commuters relying on the road every day, not to mention tourists and occasional users, it’s a recurring significant headache.

Right now, alternate routes are slow and uncertain. The Pacific Marine Circle Route is, well, circuitous, taking drivers on a rural road from Sooke through Lake Cowichan. The roadway is largely unpaved, sparsely travelled, and not something recommended during bad weather. The Mill Bay-Brentwood Bay Ferry is slow and small, thus unable to move large traffic volumes. The E&N rail line, which is a straight shot from Victoria through Duncan and beyond, has been shut down for years due to the need for serious track upgrades.

So the status quo is undesirable.

All manner of fixes have been proposed by Vancouver Island residents over the years, including a bridge across the Saanich Inlet, a bigger, faster ferry, repairing the rail line, and twinning or building a new parallel highway.

Now, the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has announced a feasibility study for an emergency alternate route. It’s already causing some controversy, with folks riled up about the possibility of a route through the Capital Regional District watershed.

We favour options that offer regular alternatives, not just a crash bypass. Those will require long-term investments, possibly not just in roads. A mix of several of the alternatives listed above is likely the best option. It will be expensive. But what we’ve been doing up until now has been expensive in its own way. It will be worth it to have a permanent fix that connects Victoria area to the rest of the Island, that doesn’t just involve more widening of a mountain pass.

It’s time to be truly forward thinking. That won’t happen if we only look at emergency routes.

Just Posted

North Island emergency and safety organizations get government funding

Seven not-for-profit emergency and safety organizations in the North Island received $219,500… Continue reading

Campbell River Killer Whales divide and conquer meets on opposite sides of the country

Eight athletes competed in Montreal, while 15 made a splash in Victoria over the weekend

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Campbell River Amnesty International chapter to host Write for Rights events

Opportunity to take action on human rights cases focussing on youth Dec. 10 at the library

‘Kind of lacking:’ Injured Bronco wonders why Canada won’t fund spinal surgery

“I think if Canada can step in and advance this program”

Police negotiate with man barricaded in Victoria synagogue

Children evacuated from daycare on site

Dance cancelled after Alberta teacher’s climate lesson prompts online threats

School district near Red Deer cancelled annual family dance due to Facebook comments

Feds not enforcing standards on Hungarian duck imports, B.C. farmer says

‘You have no way of knowing what’s in the bag’

In surprise move, defence won’t call witnesses for accused in Abbotsford school killing

‘Change of instructions’ results in defence closing case without calling evidence

B.C. VIEWS: An engine that hums right along

First Nations are leading a new surge of investment in B.C.

74% of 911 calls are from cellphones, so know your location: E-Comm

Cell tower triangulation generally only narrows location down to the block someone is calling from

No negligence in RCMP actions in B.C. teen’s overdose death: Watchdog

Police acted properly when they responded to the first reports of the boy being in distress

320 years since the ‘Big One’ doesn’t mean it’s overdue: B.C. professor

‘It could happen today, tomorrow or 100 years from now’

Most Read