This call was attended by our South'rn Brothers at Langford Fire. Pfire had the distinct "Non-Pleasure" of getting caught up in it yesterday. I did a shopping run to the north, and traffic southbound was backed up almost to the end of our district. I was able to get home again by using back roads so was not stuck anywhere. Traffic flow was shut down for over 4 hours, and it was more than 8 before things started to clear up.

Crash snarls traffic on Malahat

Cindy E. Harnett Times Colonist Tuesday, October 14, 2003

CREDIT: Deddeda Stemler, Times Colonist

The Trans-Canada Highway is backed up on the Malahat after a four-vehicle crash Monday.

A four-vehicle pile-up on the Malahat highway Monday afternoon sent one man to hospital and clogged traffic for hours.

Cars were at a standstill for several kilometres, near Goldstream Park, along the snaking two-lane Trans-Canada Highway after a southbound burgundy van crossed the centre line and hit an oncoming silver pickup truck.

The two vehicles then collided with other vehicles. Thanksgiving holiday traffic was moderate to heavy, according to police.

The male driver, sole occupant of the southbound van, was seriously hurt and is in Victoria General Hospital in stable condition, said Cpl. Jack Gallop.

The remaining three drivers and passengers walked away with minor injuries, despite the seriousness of the accident, said Gallop.

The accident scene was littered with several broken beer bottles and alcohol is believed to be involved.

"That aspect of the investigation is still being actively pursued," according to Gallop. No charges have been laid.

The initial two vehicles were "severely damaged" and towed away, police said. West Shore RCMP, the Langford Fire Department, tow trucks and ambulances were on the scene.

The accident occurred along a 1.5-kilometre stretch of two-lane highway -- just north of Goldstream Park to the beginning of Tunnel Hill -- where repairs have been made since late 2001. The repairs included widening the narrow road using existing rights-of-way.

In the first half of this stretch of the Malahat Drive ascent, a concrete centre median and a guardrail were added. There was no concrete median in the stretch where the accident occurred.

Critics say the repair work should have included a centre median that extends the length of the highway.

Since 1995, there have been about 10 fatal accidents on the portion of highway where concrete medians exist.

There is no alternate route to this unique stretch of highway.

As a result, Thanksgiving holiday travellers caught in the two-lane traffic jam on Monday dealt with the delay in different ways.

Some sat frustrated, some made illegal U-turns, and some simply pulled over on the shoulder to snooze.

Others who accepted the inevitable wait could be seen knitting, reading, exploring owner's manuals, eating, sleeping and cuddling.

More still stopped their cars, stretched their legs and took in the sunny day.

Some left their partners at the wheel while they walked fidgety children or dogs.

And those lucky enough to be in the vicinity of Goldstream Park pulled in for a nature walk. An ice-cream shop along the road proved a caloric yet heavenly respite for others.

© Copyright 2003 Times Colonist (Victoria)