Low light conditions along Highway 18 don’t give motorists much of a chance to avoid collisions with elk. (Malcolm Chalmers photo)

What you said: the solutions to the Highway 18 elk situation are varied

Is it the speed of drivers, the at-times-blind corners, or the poor lighting?

Is it the speed of drivers, the at-times-blind corners, or the poor lighting? What’s to blame for the collisions with elk on Highway 18?

Feedback to the Citizen’s Dec. 2 story entitled “Support growing for wildlife fencing, lights on Cowichan’s Highway 18” was swift after the paper posted the story on Facebook.

SEE RELATED: Support growing for wildlife fencing, lights on Cowichan’s Highway 18

“Been driving Hwy 18 for years day and night elk or no elk. Slow down pay attention is all you can do. Only solution possible is slowing down the speed limit!” wrote Jody Lee Chrysler.

“Lights and lower speed,” added Lindsay House. “Or lower speed for night and fog. Daytime 100[km/hr] is ok but dark rain fog it’s scary.”

Rudy Heisler and Ray Mead understood the scope of the situation and know the answer isn’t simple.

“Overpasses would be great, but cost upwards of $5 million each, and would need fencing to funnel the wildlife into those overpasses, another large expense,” wrote Heisler. “Those dollars would have to come from taxpayers.”

Mead’s idea was more practical.

”I have to assume in most cases the accidents happen when the animal darts out of the brush right beside the road not giving enough time to react,” he wrote. “Clearing the side of the road so people have time to see them with maybe some lighting in certain places would probably help the most.”

Dale Doebert agreed.

“The best drivers driving the speed limit can still have crashes anywhere around here,” Doebert said. “My suggestion is to clear back the roadways from trees and brush like many other parts of Canada have done. this gives the driver and the animal a lot more time to avoid each other.”

Cindy Williams said in all her years in the area, collisions with elk have never been so prevalent.

“I grew up in Lake Cowichan and drove that highway not only many years with my parents but on my own,” she wrote “There have always been elk but never any accidents until they upped the speed limit and more people have moved there and Youbou….slow it down! Drop the speed limit!”

Kayton Hester called for a shifting speed limit on the highway.

“Make this a variable speed corridor like the Coquihalla. 100 during day 80 during night. Wouldn’t that make sense? Then they can also warn and adjust to weather conditions,” Hester wrote. “I’d rather the family take 20 minutes longer to get home then never come home.”

Preston Schedel doesn’t see a real solution at all.

“Everyone likes to blame it on speed, or drivers. But what most of you people don’t understand is the herds are larger than ever. They are more abundant also bringing the likely crash numbers up,” Schedel wrote. “They stay around the towns and highways because the wolves and cougars tend to avoid the public areas and with our conservation efforts their numbers will only continue to grow. The highway speed won’t change a bloody thing seeing as a surprise elk is a surprise elk. If they clear the shoulders like they have up island and bring in a cow guard like fence even then you’re still going to have issues! What do you expect a fence from highway 18/ TCH connector to the end of Youbou? Not likely!”

What’s the solution? It seems to depend on who you ask. Authorities have thus far not made any changes, though they do say the Highway 18 elk situation is being looked into.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Editorial: Mask wearing: innocuous advice has turned into polarizing war

Somehow, this innocuous recommendation has become a polarizing war for some.

UPDATED: Young deckhands backed out of fatal Arctic Fox II trip just before fishboat departed

Inexperienced twin brothers had ‘gut feeling’ and bailed before going to open ocean

Cowichan’s Dillabaugh checks in from the NHL bubble in Toronto

Flyers’ Duncan-born goalie coach weighs in on hockey restart

37-year-old man missing from Cobble Hill area

He is described as a First Nations man, 5 foot 8 in height

Five new handyDART buses serving Cowichan

Buses to replace older vehicles being removed from the fleet

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Wedding party bear sprayed at Okanagan campsite irks locals

Latest criminal activity at the Meadows leaves locals frustrated

Paramedics fired for allowing patient to crawl for treatment on Downtown Eastside: court documents

The man spent three days in intensive care and three months recovering in hospital from sepsis

Feds seeking private consultant to design firearm buyback program

The ban covers some 1,500 models and variants of what the government considers assault-style weapons

Face masks for teachers can impact learning on young children, experts say

Face coverings, mandatory in most indoor public places across the province, can help limit the spread of COVID-19

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

Most Read