Resident riled up over perpetual winter Cowichan Bay Road flooding

Resident riled up over perpetual winter Cowichan Bay Road flooding

Ministry says no major work planned

Bill Eben has had it with the ongoing flooding problems on Cowichan Bay Road.

The road serves as the main artery connecting Duncan to the neighbouring village of Cowichan Bay and closes multiple times virtually every year due to flooding.

Eben has lived on Bench Road — which connects the Trans Canada Highway and Cowichan Bay Road and is used as an alternate route when the latter floods — for more than 40 years. He is sick and tired of the closures and their impact on Cowichan Bay residents.

Take, for example the morning of Jan. 25 when a large chipper truck tried to negotiate the turn from Cowichan Bay Road onto Bench Road due to a closure flooding.

He said another truck was coming from the other direction on the narrow Bench Road and the chipper truck had to stop while making the turn.

When the truck started to move forward again uphill, its drive shaft broke.

“Trucks, buses and cars were backed up right to the highway for about an hour and a half before the truck was finally removed from the road,” Eben said.

“The truck likely would not have been on the hill in the first place if Cowichan Bay Road was open. The hill going to the highway on Bench Road is bad enough already without this added to it.”

First responders are also called out to Cowicha Bay Road on a regular basis to rescue motorists left stranded during ill-advised attempts to drive through the flood.

Eben said the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has paved the road in recent years, but the road needs to be raised about one metre to deal with the flooding issues.

“The raising of the road would only have to be in the section where a river tributary runs along the side of the road, and where much of the flooding originates,” Eben said.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure issued the following statement: “As this is a localized, seasonal occurrence, there are no long-term modifications anticipated on this road.”

“We encourage drivers to use caution, and obey all signs including posted speed limits and detours.”