Malahat residents file injunction to stop highway safety work they say will backfire
Ministry of Transportation plans $34 million in improvements to highway
Residents of a neighbourhood just off the Malahat Highway on Vancouver Island have filed a court injunction to stop work on safety improvements on their stretch of the highway.
Bill Eller, a resident on Aspen Road, 25 kilometres northwest of Victoria, says eliminating a left-hand turn connecting his community with the highway to Victoria will increase danger, not reduce it.
"It's a safety argument we're presenting, and we think it's a compelling argument," he told All Points West guest host Michael Tymchuk. "We think it will take the judiciary to make an impartial decision."
Safety on the Malahat has been a concern in recent years. Dividers and extra lanes have been or are being built to help address the problem.
Presently, Aspen Road connects to a stretch of the Malahat where drivers can turn left to head southbound to Victoria — which involves crossing two lanes of traffic — or right, to the north, which leads to the community of Malahat.
Eller takes issue with the Ministry of Transportation's plan to eliminate the left-turn option for southbound traffic and instead force drivers to turn right, make a different left turn 800 metres up the road, then turn around in a planned new u-turn facility just off the highway's edge and then enter southbound traffic.
The change is necessary because the ministry is adding a second southbound lane in that area.
Eller says the changes make heading south on the Malahat more complicated, increasing the chance of a collision.
He instead wants the ministry to improve safety by implementing a protected T intersection design instead.
All Points West asked the Ministry of Transportation for comment on this story but received none as no new government has formed since the May 9 election.
Listen to the full interview:
With files from CBC Radio One's All Points West