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Malahat closure snarls traffic

Trans-Canada Highway reopens to traffic early Friday morning
A two-vehicle crash has closed the Trans-Canada Highway in both directions at Goldstream Provincial Park. A small fuel truck is on its side and is leaking fuel. (Photo via @MoonWaterLodge)

***UPDATE: The Trans-Canada Highway reopened to traffic at 12:40 a.m. Friday.

With the Malahat closed in both directions at Goldstream Provincial Park, detours and surrounding routes were crawling as motorists tried to make their way home.

The Trans-Canada Highway was estimated to be closed until 4 a.m. Friday while crews worked to assess and clean up after a two-vehicle crash involving a fuel truck and a passenger van. Crews were able to reopen the roadway at roughly 12:40 a.m. Friday, just in time for the morning commute.

READ MORE: Two people injured in crash on Malahat

“The cause of the collision is under investigation. The fuel spill is a risk for motorists and first responders, as well as a potential environmental hazard. We ask for patience from drivers who are affected by any delays as emergency crews deal with the closure of Highway 1,” said West Shore RCMP Cpl. Chris Dovell.

The local detachment confirmed at 3:30 p.m. Thursday that the area had been designated as a “hot zone” and the Trans-Canada was not expected to reopen before the Friday morning commute.

Finlayson Arm Road was open for emergency vehicles, local residents and non-commercial traffic. Vehicles were guided by a pilot car in one direction at a time.

Traffic in surrounding areas was also heavily impacted, with congestion and lengthy delays.

Motorists detoured on the Pacific Circle Route.

But traffic was moving slowly on Sooke Road as motorist tried to take the Pacific Circle Route through Port Renfrew and Sooke as a detour.

RELATED: Sooke traffic slowed due to Malahat crash

As of early Thursday afternoon, Sooke RCMP had not received any reports of crashes, aside from an incident in Port Renfrew, but there were no injuries.

B.C. Transit advised passengers planning to take the 66 Duncan Commuter or the 99 Shawnigan Lake Commuter that buses would leave Victoria at their scheduled times and detour through Sooke and the Pacific Marine Circle route. If you have any questions, call 250-746-9899.

B.C. Ferries was also advising motorists by early afternoon that the ferry between Brentwood Bay and Mill Bay had reached capacity for the final three regular sailings departing in both directions.

Additional staff were called in and B.C. Ferries ran three additional sailings to accommodate the traffic volume. They departed from Brentwood Bay at 7:30, 8:40 and 9:50 p.m. and from Mill Bay at 8:05, 9:15 and 10:25 p.m.

However, the ferry can only accommodate roughly 15 vehicles at a time and it was estimated these extra sailings were already full when they were announced.

The Sooke School District also issued a warning to parents and guardians that bus service was expected to be delayed Thursday afternoon due to the heavy volume of traffic on the West Shore. The longest delays were expected for buses 4, 6 and 25.

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Emergency crews are responding to a two-vehicle crash on the Trans-Canada Highway in Goldstream Provincial Park. The highway is closed in both directions and is not expected to reopen before 10 p.m. Thursday night. (Photo courtesy of BC Transportation/Twitter )

About the Author: Goldstream News Gazette Staff

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