Sooke shares a major artery with Metchosin and Port Renfrew and when the flow is staunched, everyone bleeds.
Sooke Road is the lifeline for Sooke and areas beyond and if anything, no matter how minor, happens along any stretch of that two-lane road, you better hope your gas tank is full because you will sit idling bumper to bumper. Add to that the usual crush of vehicles between 7 to 9 a.m. or 3 to 6 p.m. and you have an intolerable situation.
Just last week a very, very minor spill of some vehicle fluid basically shut the highway during the afternoon rush hour. A fire department vehicle was used to block the road and drivers were allowed through intermittently. There were also police and other emergency service vehicles on site. Was this really necessary? This appeared to many to be an unacceptable use of emergency vehicles. There was no “emergency.” What there was was an overkill situation and it should not have been allowed to occur during the busiest time of day. It was inconsiderate and way too far overboard. This wasn’t a huge oil spill like the incident on the Malahat. It could have been cleaned up with a few absorbent pads and a little kitty litter in 10 minutes.
What if someone in that long line-up had a medical emergency? They would be trapped, ironically enough by the very people who should be serving them.
This is an ongoing issue in these parts and the Ministry of Highways should be doing a traffic count on the most highly travelled highway portion of Sooke Road past the four-lanes. An alternate route somewhere east of 17 Mile should be seriously considered because of the increased traffic expected from increased development around Sooke. Light rail, fast buses, and overpasses are all talked about, but at least those who can use these have options while people driving to and from Sooke don’t. Our MLA, MP and mayors should be fighting and lobbying for improved access on our lifeline route. It’s time.