An old picture depicts a crews line painting on the Malahat in 1950. It has been 110 years since what is now a highway was originally paved. (BC Transportation/Twitter)

An old picture depicts a crews line painting on the Malahat in 1950. It has been 110 years since what is now a highway was originally paved. (BC Transportation/Twitter)

Throwback Thursday: 110 years since crews paved the Malahat

From cattle trail to wagon road to major artery, the Malahat has transformed over the years

A lot has changed since the Malahat section of the Trans-Canada Highway was first cut out of the rocks.

The Malahat or Malahat Drive, a 25-kilometre stretch of Highway 1 that runs between Langford and Mill Bay, was first cut as a cattle trail in 1861 and was expanded to a wagon road in 1884, according to Travel British Columbia. It was eventually upgraded to a paved road in 1911. It gets its name from the Malahat Nation, whose territory it runs through, and climbs to a summit of 356 metres (1,156 feet).

In a #ThrowbackThursday post on Twitter, the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure posted an old black-and-white photo from 1950. The photo depicts crews painting the centre line.

Road crews are a consistent fixture on the highway, whether they’re conducting upkeep or completing improvement projects that have been added in recent decades.

The deadly stretch of roadway has been the target of government spending in an effort to curb fatalities.

In 2018, a $34-million Malahat Village Safety Improvements project was completed, which combined with previous projects, resulted in more than 65 per cent of the Malahat being separated by median barriers.

Despite the work, many critics are still calling for the government to design a new route that will better accommodate the steadily increasing number of motorists using the roadway.

While a lot has changed in the 110 years since the Malahat was paved, the road ahead could still look very different.

READ MORE: Critic calls for new Malahat route

READ MORE: All four lanes open on Malahat, more improvements to come

READ MORE: Province plans widening, median and roadside barriers for Highway 1 near Goldstream park


 

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