The Malahat was closed in both directions Monday morning, Sept. 10, due to a rock that fell onto the highway. (Photo courtesy of B.C. Transportation)

Province satisfied rock slide that closed Malahat an ‘isolated event’

Another complete highway closure near Victoria renews calls for alternate route between capital region and rest of Vancouver Island

The province doesn’t expect other rocks to fall onto the Malahat after that happened this morning, bringing traffic to a stop on the Trans-Canada highway in both directions for several hours.

The Malahat was shut down for about three hours Monday morning north of Victoria, just past Goldstream Park.

Janelle Staite, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s deputy regional director for the south coast, said at about 8:10 a.m., a rock fell into the southbound lanes, bounced across the median and through the northbound lanes before coming to rest on the shoulder. There was a “minor impact” with a northbound pickup truck, she said.

The highway was immediately closed and the ministry’s geotechnical engineers dispatched to the location.

“From what they can determine, it was sort of an isolated event,” said Staite. “We’ve had a lot of heavy rains over the last number of days and when we do have rains when it’s been dry for awhile, it has the opportunity to potentially dislodge some rock material.”

RELATED: Malahat reopens following closure due to rock slide

Straite said the incident was not related to any construction happening further north on the highway.

She said the ministry has meshing over the rock face on this particular stretch of the highway, but the rock that fell came from about 100 metres above the ministry right-of-way.

“They look at a broad enough section to try to determine, is this something that we need to be concerned around a larger rock fall or more rocks falling before we’re able to re-open the highway,” Staite said. “The assessment that they did, they were able to determine that where they looked at, they were comfortable to give the OK.”

She said the Ministry of Transportation is “always looking” at safety along the corridor, including the rock faces, and said “we’re very thankful that no one was injured” in this morning’s incident.

READ ALSO: Malahat open in both directions after fatal sewage-truck crash

She said approximately 22,000 vehicles travel that route each day and the ministry appreciates that traffic closures are a disruption to commuters and businesses.

“I can say we are looking at alternatives to the Malahat…” she said, noting that alternate routes and bridge links have been brought up in the past. “We’re still working on the scope of that study and hope to have more information this fall.”

Straite said it’s “at the top of our mind,” and that was the case before the series of closures in recent weeks.

“This is an important corridor, we want to keep people moving on the corridor and we want to make sure the corridor remains safe and reliable,” she said.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

North Island Tour De Rock rider Benjamin Leah leads team to Port Hardy

“You don’t have issues and problems when you look at these kids and how much they’re going through.”

Seeing double, the trials and tribulations of twins

BIG READ: Three Vancouver Island mothers share their experiences with multiple births

Paving complete, lines coming to the Malahat this week

$34 million safety project is 95 per cent complete with hope to relieve traffic congestion between Victoria and Nanaimo

UPDATE: Missing 77-year-old Barbara Munroe found safe

Shawnigan Lake RCMP are asking public to help find woman

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

Environment Canada confirms Ottawa area hit by two tornadoes Friday

At one point more than 200,000 hydro customers were blacked out

Whitecaps see playoff dreams fade after 2-1 loss to FC Dallas

Goal in 87th minute seals Vancouver’s fate

B.C. students send books to displaced students of Hornby Island school fire

Maple Ridge elementary school teacher says students learned about acts of kindness

Trump drains oxygen from Trudeau foreign policy with PM, Freeland bound for UN

A lot has changed since the Liberals came to power in Canada in 2015

B.C. man fined $15,000, barred from trading securities for fraud

Larry Keith Davis used money from an investor to pay personal bills

Emergency crews investigate small sulphuric acid spill in Kootenays

IRM states a small volume of less than one cup and three dime-sized drips were leaked from carrier

Family, friends of B.C murder victim want killer sent back to max security facility

Group wants convicted murderer Walter Ramsay sent back to a maximum security facility

Most Read