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Work is Underway to Develop Alternative to the Malahat

Countless drivers have had their mind wander while stuck in an infamous traffic jam on the Malahat, but what is actually being done to address the issue?

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley says he’s had discussions with the Transportation Minister and the Island Corridor Foundation about a rail alternative to the Malahat.

An engineering analysis is underway and Routley said it looks at transportation on the south island as a whole.

“It’s looking at the Malahat, it’s looking at options to alleviate the potential for cutting off Victoria from the rest of the island,” said Routley. “People have missed important treatments for cancer or operations because of the highway closures, so it’s a really important issue.”

The analysis is expected to determine how much it would cost to recommission the E & N rail line from Nanaimo to Langford and Routley said he’s had discussions with both the Transportation Minister and the Island Corridor Foundation.

Routley says Premier John Horgan is on board with finding an alternative to the notorious Malahat and has been for nearly 15 years.

“He (Horgan) and I were elected at the same time in 2005 and one of the first thing’s we did was meet on the train in Duncan to announce our support for this, so it’s important to both of us,” said Routley. “We need to know what the real costs are and bring all the people together to discuss what needs to be done.”

The Island Corridor Foundation is hosting a town hall meeting at the Ramada Inn in Duncan on November 7 from 7 to 9 pm.

Other alternatives to the Malahat have been floated, including ferry service from Cowichan Bay to Sidney and a bridge over one section of Finlayson Arm.

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