Two months ahead of schedule and on budget, the Malahat Safety Improvement Project on Vancouver Island in British Columbia has been completed. Nearby rest areas and safer driving conditions are now open for business.
According to Sonia Lowe, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure public affairs officer, the Malahat Summit rest area has reopened. New lighting has been added to ensure safety during the evening and nighttime hours. As part of the project, the rest area now has an acceleration lane for vehicles leaving and merging into northbound traffic.
Lowe pointed out other improvements that more directly affect truck drivers. Specifically, the relocation of the highway northbound and southbound merge locations. Before the project began, merge lanes occurred near the top of a steep grade and on a curve going northbound. Now the merge occurs after the steep grade on a more flat level, allowing slower moving vehicles to reach highway speeds. From a safety perspective, this reduces speed differentials between trucks and passenger vehicles.
Beginning last May, the $15 million project involved widening 2.3 kilometers (1.4 miles) of Highway 1 from Shawnigan Lake Road to the summit to accommodate a median barrier. Today, more than half of the Malahat corridor is protected by a median barrier.
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