Crashes shut down Malahat Highway an average of 12 times per year: province
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Monday, June 11, 2018 6:37PM PDT
After a head-on crash killed a man on the Malahat Highway on the weekend, new numbers are showing a familiar trend on the main route into and out of B.C.'s capital.
David Tilley, a 46-year-old man from Vancouver, was driving an SUV in a southbound lane Saturday at around 1 p.m. when he was struck by a suspected impaired drive in a minivan.
Tilley was pronounced dead at the scene, while a female passenger went to hospital with serious injuries.
The driver of the minivan was also taken to hospital, and police are still gathering evidence on her alleged impairment.
The crash also shut down traffic for hours, leaving thousands cut off from or stranded on the South Island.
"Heard a lot of frustration, yesterday and today," said George Gibson, who has run the Malahat Gas Station for more than 30 years. "Either four-lane the whole thing, or you better go luck at something else."
Saturday's crash came on the heels of one in May that shut down the highway for 14 hours.
The crashes have renewed calls for not only more medians on the highway, but a better alternative when it's closed – and it seems the province is listening.
The B.C. Ministry of Transportation has acknowledged the consistent closures, telling CTV News Monday the notorious route is closed on average at least once a month.
"Between 2011 and 2016, the Malahat was closed an average of 12 times per year, averaging just under two hours per incident," the ministry said in a statement. "A review is underway to look at potential transportation alternatives, including a bridge and other options that consider all modes of transportation, including both passenger-only and car ferry services."
After May's fuel truck crash shut down the Malahat for hours, Premier John Horgan resurrected a years-old idea of building a bridge across the Saanich Inlet that would bypass the Malahat entirely.
BC Ferries also recently floated the idea of increasing capacity on the ferry that currently services the Mill Bay-Brentwood Bay route.
Police say they are speaking with witnesses and a collision analyst unit is reviewing driving evidence in Saturday's crash.