Backups on the Malahat have been horrendous with construction closing one northbound lane this summer. The province hopes reopening the lane will help with the flow of traffic over the long weekend. (Twitter: @kridan0103)

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

The latest Malahat safety project, pegged at $34 million, is more than 95 per cent complete according to the province.

Crews are finished overnight paving and focusing on barrier installation and line painting, according to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. About 95 per cent of the roadside barriers are in place and about half of the newest median barriers are installed.

Its anticipated these improvements will increase safety on a five-kilometre stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway that passes through the Malahat Village, just south of the Cowichan Valley.

The project also included expanding the roadway to four lanes from two, with wider shoulders and installing three kilometres of median barriers while also providing improved access from side roads.

RELATED: Second lane through Malahat village opens

ALSO READ: Should there be an alternate route to the Malahat highway?

“Improving the reliability of the Malahat is an urgent matter within the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure,” the ministry said in a release to Black Press Media. “The minister has identified finding an alternate route in case of an emergency as a pressing priority this fall. Staff are working towards a solution and understand the importance of keeping people and goods moving on Southern Vancouver Island.”

RELATED: An upstart ferry company might be a Malahat alternative

Crews are also focusing on adding lighting to new access roads to improve overall visibility for drivers turning on and off the Malahat.

Over the next week, overnight line painting will occur. This work is weather dependent. If the weather cooperates, the goal is to have the fourth lane painted and open between Aspen Road and Shawnigan Lake Road by the end of the month, or first week of October.

The entire project, including site cleanup, is scheduled to be completed by the end of October.

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