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School Bus Delays and Update on Malahat Highway Expected This Morning

Clear skies yesterday afternoon brought some relief after heavy rain caused creeks and rivers to swell, flooding roads and property in low-lying areas throughout the Cowichan Valley.

However, the floodwaters will take time to recede and residents are asked to continue being extremely cautious around water and watch for warning signs around closures and hazards.

School buses will be running this morning, but the district advises that parents on some routes can expect delays, possibly as long as 30-minutes, for morning pick-up.

The transportation office of the SD79 says the school bus routes affected are West and East Shawnigan Lake Road. Maple Bay Road, which may be rerouted through Herd Road, Mill Bay Road, and students in Crofton.

The district says there are three places where students cannot be picked up this morning: Mt Sicker Road, the Butterfield Road bus stop via the highway, and Cowichan Bay tennis courts.

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For commuters trying to reach Victoria, the Trans-Canada Highway just north of Goldstream Park remains closed after part of the shoulder of the northbound lanes were washed away.

A decision is expected this morning on when the highway will reopen after a geotechnical survey can determine if that section of the road is stable.

One employee of highway maintenance contractor Emcon Services told My Cowichan Valley Now that he’d never witnessed a similar situation on the highway in three decades.

BC Transit’s number 66 bus, the Duncan Commuter, and route 99, the Shawnigan Lake Connector were cancelled Monday afternoon and remain cancelled this morning until the status of Highway-1 is determined.

The Malahat closure of Highway-1 had drivers heading down to Mill Bay in the hope of taking the ferry to Brentwood Bay on the Saanich Peninsula north of Victoria.

The huge volume of traffic prompted BC Ferries to find additional crew members and service was operated overnight to help stranded people get home.

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Many other roads in the valley remained closed last night, including Canada Ave between Sherman Rd and the Co-op Gas Station, the intersection of Crofton and Chemainus Roads, where a detour via Osborne Road is in effect, Lakes Rd at Beverly Avenue, and numerous others.

Allenby Road has been closed by a mudslide between Miller and Boys Roads and properties along Allenby Road by the Cowichan River, including Riverside Campground, were ordered to evacuate.

A State of Local Emergency was declared Monday for parts of the Cowichan Valley Regional District and a reception centre for evacuated residents has been established at the Cowichan Community Centre.

Cowichan Tribes issued an evacuation order for residents in flooded areas in and near the Cowichan River estuary.

Early Monday morning, an evacuation order had to be issued for the Meadow Glen apartment building on Canada Avenue.

The Municipality of North Cowichan says sandbags and sand are available at the Works Yard on Sprott Road, across from the operations yard.

North Cowichan says the volume of water in the Cowichan River exceeded what was recorded during the 2020 and 2009 floods.

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