British Columbia

Malahat Highway reopens after fuel truck crash

The long closure snarled travel plans for several drivers, many of whom were stuck in traffic for hours.

DriveBC said the highway reopened around 1 a.m. Friday.

Westshore Towing tweeted this photo of a tanker truck that rolled over in Goldstream Provincial Park, closing the Malahat Highway on Thursday. (@WestshoreT/Twitter)

The Malahat Highway on Vancouver Island has reopened after a fuel tanker rolled over Thursday, causing a fuel spill and massive traffic delays for commuters.

The long closure snarled travel plans for the roughly 25,000 drivers that travel the highway each day. Hundreds were stuck in traffic for hours due to the accident.

"If there is an accident, we are all stuck," said Ashley Richter, one of many people waiting hours to get on the Brentwood Bay ferry as an alternative route.

"We all have kids over there and we are trying to get home to them."

DriveBC said the highway reopened around 1 a.m. Friday.

Spill created 'hot zone'

The truck overturned in Goldstream Provincial Park after it collided with a passenger van. An undetermined amount of furnace oil was reported to be leaking into the ditch, according to the Ministry of Environment.

RCMP say hazmat crews were able to contain the spill, but ministry officials said the area was designated as a "hot zone," which means it's not safe unless people are wearing personal protective equipment.

Emergency responders were still on scene hours after the fuel truck crashed. Hazmat crews were able to contain spilled fuel, but ministry officials say the area has been designated as a "hot zone", which means it's not safe unless people are wearing personal protective equipment. (B.C. Ministry of Transportation/Twitter)

In addition to the furnace oil, the truck was also carrying gasoline and diesel, but officials said the gasoline and diesel did not leak.

Police said two people were transported to hospital as a result of the collision. B.C. Emergency Health services said one person was in serious condition.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Road crews are handing out water and bringing in portable toilets for people stuck on the Malahat. (Ministry of Transportation)

Call for alternatives

The traffic chaos has some people again calling for better alternatives to link Victoria with the rest of Vancouver Island.

The Ministry of Transportation says a 2007 review looked at building a bridge to connect Brentwood Bay to Mill Bay, but that would have cost upwards of $1 billion.

Instead, it says the focus remains on better aligning and expanding the existing Malahat Highway to four lanes.

The next section of four-lane road is scheduled to be finished later this summer.

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