Emergency detour route for the Malahat not feasible: province
VICTORIA -- The province will not pursue the construction of a detour route around the Malahat in the event of long-term closures.
The B.C. government said Monday it has reviewed a study of potential emergency detour routes for the highway north of Victoria and has determined that all seven proposed routes are not feasible.
"All routes were determined to have environmental, engineering, property and community disruption impacts — some to greater degrees than others," the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said in a release Monday.
The study assessed potential detours that could make use of existing forestry roads, trails and water-supply maintenance roads.
Two of the proposed emergency detours were costed out and the province says the price tag for a detour on the Niagara Main service road would cost approximately $30 million, while a proposed new route between Sooke and Cobble Hill would cost approximately $180 million.
The province says long-term Malahat closures of four hours or more occur only 1.1 times per year, with seven such closures happening since 2009.
"Due to these community and environmental impacts, the focus of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will remain on improving safety on the existing Highway 1 route, so incidents that result in longer closures can be limited," the ministry said.