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UPDATED: Island Highway moving again near Crofton, Malahat remains closed

Flooding near Crofton and on the Malahat, Cowichan Bay access also impacted by floodwaters
Deep water on the stretch of the Trans Canada Highway just south of Mt Sicker Road before Hidden Hills. (Photo by Shelby Mitchell) Deep water on the stretch of the Trans Canada Highway just south of Mt Sicker Road before Hidden Hills. (Photo by Shelby Mitchell)

As darkness approaches, traffic is beginning to move again on the Island Highway in Cowichan.

But it seems there is no immediate fix in sight to the situation that has left Greater Victoria partially cut off from the rest of Vancouver Island.

According to a 5 p.m. Tweet from Emcon, the firm responsible for highway maintenance on the south Island, traffic has resumed through the highway section just south of the Chemainus River that has been closed for about 8 hours due to flooding.

“Slow Lane is open in both directions. Crew is working on getting the fast lane open so please drive through the area with caution,” the Tweet reads.”

However, Highway 1 over the Malahat will remain closed in both directions until crews can confirm its safety, a situation that may continue throughout the night.

“Geotechnical assessment cannot confirm road stability at this time due to volumes of water still at the site. At this time #BCHwy1 will remain CLOSED in both directions. Next expected update: Nov. 16th at 8:00am,” a 4:40 p.m. Emcon Tweet reads.

Emcon had Tweeted at about 11 a.m. that the Malahat had closed for the second time today, an hour after an earlier situation at Tunnel Hill had been cleared. The closure was to be set up at Westshore Parkway and continue until the safety of the road confirmed. The firm later tweeted that a crew was on site working to remove center median barrier to allow SB lanes to drain in order to allow single-lane alternating traffic.

The situation was bookended by the one near the Crofton turnoff, where the highway was blocked by flooding near the intersection with Mount Sicker Road. A detour initially put in effect via Osborne Bay Road vanished when the Chemainus River bridge on Chemainus Road was also closed due to high water.

According to DriveBC that situation remains, as does a closure in the southbound Island Highway lane at the Henry Road intersection with the highway in Chemainus is also closed.

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring said folks have been asking about sandbags.

He posted for now, they are available at the North Cowichan Public Works Yard, just south of the municipal hall, for those who can get there.

“You’ll have to fill our own bags, though, so bring a shovel,” he indicated.

Emcon Tweeted shortly after 9 a.m. that the highway was closed on the Malahat, due to flooding at Tunnel Hill north if Finlayson Arm Rd. They reported it re-opened about an hour later, then closed again at about 11 a.m.

Emcon also reports a perennial flooding site at where the highway intersects with Cowichan Bay Road is also closed.

Near Mill Bay, Briarwood Drive has been washed out. There, Emcon says crews are looking at implementing a temporary bridge.

Check back here for more information as it becomes available.

RELATED: VIDEO: Flooding, mudslide hampering travel through Greater Victoria, Salt Spring Island

Don Bodger

About the Author: Don Bodger

I've been a part of the newspaper industry since 1980 when I began on a part-time basis covering sports for the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.
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