There is only one highway from Victoria to Nanaimo, and we live on it. Which means that when something happens, such as a tanker truck full of fuel crashing into the side of the mountain and spilling said fuel all over the highway and into the Goldstream River, they have to close the highway completely. As I write this, that portion of the highway still isn't open to traffic, and it's been about 20 hours.
I finished work last night at 8pm, and took my short cut to the highway, excited to get home. Right away I noticed that traffic was backed up, but I didn't see any emergency vehicles or signs so, I just stayed put, and went with the flow. After 20 minutes of slow moving, I got to the last intersection before the Malahat, and saw that it was closed. Police officer informed me of the accident, said it would be at least eight hours before they could let people through. Ugh. I yelled a curse word or two at the steering wheel, and headed back to work to use their phone to call Zach. After not coming up with any ideas on how to get home, I ended up sleeping at work. Thank goodness I work at a group home, anybody else leaving work last night didn't have that option.
I got up bright and early, around 6am, bought a coffee and hit the highway again. This time, there wasn't a back up of traffic, so I figured since it had been about 10 hours, it would be open. But no, at the last bend before the Malahat, I realized it was closed again. FOR GODS SAKES HIGHWAY PEOPLE, PUT UP A DAMN SIGN OR SOMETHING NEXT TIME....is what I was thinking. I asked a flag person what was going on, they said at least another 6 hours before they could let anyone through....argh.
I turned around and headed to the Shell station down the road, and soon learned that many people had to actually spend the night at the gas station, at least I had a couch to sleep on. I bought a phone card, after learning that our home phone doesn't accept collect calls, and got a hold of Zach to let him know I was following some other people and giving Finlayson Arm Road a shot. It was either that, or drive to Port Renfrew, and do the Pacific Marine tour again.
Luckily, they were letting people through on the twisty turny back road a few at a time, and I was there early enough that traffic wasn't backed up there. It was a beautiful drive, under different circumstances, I would have enjoyed it so much more. Maybe even stop to take a few pictures of the sunlight bouncing on the ocean. I was home by 9am, only 13 hours after my first attempt.
There are still people stranded up here, and down there. The Legion opened its doors and let people stay, the pubs and hotels and gas stations in that area were jammed last night. Some people stayed in their vehicles on the highway all night.
It blows my mind that a city like Victoria only has one major route out. Yes, there are other roads, going other places, and if you have a map and some knowledge of the area, you can get places eventually. This is just one of the many many times this highway has been closed. This was just one drunk semi driver, and look at the mess this has caused. If there was an earthquake, and people needed to evacuate, most would never get out. Which is something that people who live in the city, and don't leave it, don't think about when they reject ideas to build another route out. They don't want traffic going past their house, they don't want to pay for the work....but they sure as hell will want that road when a disaster happens, no doubt about it.
But, I'm exhausted, so no time to rant about shitty highways, and shitty people. I just hope that the road is opened tomorrow so I can get to work, and I hope that the clean up crew is getting somewhere, because a fuel spill at Goldstream? That's not easy to fix.