Mackenzie Beach Road’s speed limit has been lowered in an effort to keep its gravel intact.

Mackenzie Beach Road’s speed limit has been lowered in an effort to keep its gravel intact.

Tofino hopes slower speeds will prolong gravel road’s life

“Speed, plus water, plus traffic, plus volume, equals potholes."

Tofino is hoping to slow down the deterioration of a popular gravel road by slowing down its traffic.

The district has permanently dropped the speed limit on Mackenzie Beach Road from 50 km/h down to 30 km/h. The change took effect Jan. 23.

Tofino’s Manager of Engineering and Public Works Ricardo Araya told the Westerly News the decision was made to boost the road’s longevity by deterring deterioration.

“Speed, plus water, plus traffic, plus volume, equals potholes…We can’t do anything about [the volume] and we can’t do anything about the amount of water that falls; the speed part is the only part I can tackle with the resources I have,” he said. “If your tires are spinning quicker, you’re putting more force onto that specific spot.”

He said a change was needed because Mackenzie has become an oft-visited and time-consuming stretch for his public works crew.

“We get called out to maintain that road a lot more than the other gravel roads,” he said. “It’s just a lot of effort on our equipment, our gravel material and our crew-time to maintain that road.”

He said he notified Tofino’s RCMP of the lowered limit and a new sign was posted to bring locals and visitors up to speed on the change.

“That road is, more often than not, traveled by tourists and I would hope that they would see the 30 km/h sign and obey that,” he said. “There’s certainly no reason to be going 50 km/h on a gravel road when you’re on vacation, but some might have a different opinion of that.”

He said Mackenzie is one of three well-used gravel roads in Tofino along with Gibson Street and Arnet Road, but that he hopes to see Gibson paved in 2017.