It’s going to be a hot and busy summer. It’s already started.
With travel restrictions easing, people are anxious to get moving again and Vancouver Island is definitely going to be a hot spot both for locals still not comfortable about venturing too far and tourists from around the province.
If you like to get away from it all, those cozy, secluded, quiet spots will be impossible to find. Jam-packed camping spots, picnic areas and trails are a certainty.
So you’re going to need to pack your patience on any trip you’re planning to take. Most travel will inevitably involve the Trans Canada Highway on the Island and that’s a huge problem, mainly on the section between Nanaimo and Victoria that has more stoplights than any other similar section of highway in the country.
The congestion is a concern when we’re going to see a huge explosion this summer. The Island’s population is skyrocketing, mainly because the communities of Metchosin, Langford, Colwood and Sooke are churning out developments faster than people from other jurisdictions can move in.
There’s no consideration being given for infrastructure. All those people want to escape the confines of their areas on weekends and head north to the beaches of Parksville and Qualicum, Tofino or farther north on the Island.
They all have to converge on the same highway to reach their destinations. That same highway in the south end of the Island has seen little improvement over many years, other than a few widenings and extra lanes but it’s still not enough to handle the volume.
Worst of all, there is still no real plan in place for a Duncan bypass or Malahat bypass or some other option like the Nanaimo Parkway to ease the overload.
Overpasses, of course, are another story and we’ve all seen the need for the McKenzie Interchange Project near Victoria. This should have been in the planning stages decades earlier and would have saved taxpayers buckets of money.
The job of doing it now instead of many years earlier was also far more onerous. It’s now apparent many other overpasses need to be installed to replace traffic lights, but that’s a pipe dream at best.
So, in the meantime, don’t expect to get anywhere quickly and the fear of increased accidents is very real.