British Columbia Highway 19

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Highway 19

Island Highway
Inland Island Highway
Highway 19 highlighted in red.
Route information
Maintained by British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
Length403 km (250 mi)
Major junctions
South end Duke Point Ferry Terminal
Major intersections Hwy 1 (TCH) in Nanaimo
Hwy 19A south in Nanaimo
Hwy 19A north at Craig's Crossing
Hwy 4A near Parksville
Hwy 4 near Qualicum Beach
Hwy 19A / Hwy 28 in Campbell River
Hwy 30 between and Port McNeill and Port Hardy
North end Bear Cove Ferry Terminal
ProvinceBritish Columbia
Highway system
Hwy 18 Hwy 19A

Highway 19 is the main north–south thoroughfare on Vancouver Island from Nanaimo to Port Hardy. A highway has existed on the Island since about 1912. Originally gravel and rough, the highway was an essential link together with the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway. The paved highway first opened in 1953, replacing a stretch of Highway 1 between Nanaimo and Campbell River, finally being extended to the northern tip of the island in the late 1970s. The total length of the highway is 403 kilometers (250 mi).

Route description

From 2014 to 2018, a stretch of Highway 19 north of Parksville had the highest signed speed limit in Canada, at 120 km/h (75 mph).

Highway 19's northern end is located at the Bear Cove ferry terminal, across the bay from Port Hardy. The highway proceeds southwest from the ferry dock for 5 km (3.1 mi) to a junction with the main road to the centre of Port Hardy, then turns southeast, travelling for 16 km (9.9 mi) to Highway 30, and then further east for 20 km (12 mi) to the main road to Port McNeill. The highway then follows the eastern shore of Nimpkish Lake and the Nimpkish River through a long stretch of dense forest terrain for 64 km (40 mi) southeast, until reaching a junction with the community of Woss, then travelling another 65 km east (40 mi), through the boundary between the Regional Districts of Mount Waddington and Strathcona, to a junction with Sayward, and finally entering the city of Campbell River another 64 km (40 mi) southeast, at a junction with Highways 28 and 19A, just past the river that the city is named for.

The entire stretch of Highway 19 north of Campbell River is an undivided two-lane configuration. Once at the junction with Highways 28 and 19A, Highway 19 separates into an expressway configuration, built between 1996 and 2001. In Campbell River, the expressway shares its northbound lanes with Tamarac Street, and its southbound lanes with Willow Street. The entire stretch of Highway 19 between Campbell River and the city of Parksville alternates between a divided four-lane expressway and freeway, with a nominal speed limit of 110 km/h (68 mph), and is referred to as the "Inland Island Highway".

South from Campbell River, Highway 19 is divided primarily by a concrete wall, and goes through a series of six at-grade intersections, five of them possessing exit numbers. 52 km (32 mi) south of Campbell River, Highway 19 reaches its first interchange, with a four-lane arterial highway that goes west to the village of Cumberland and east to the communities of Courtenay and Comox. Past the Courtenay Interchange, Highway 19 is divided by a grass median. 16 km (9.9 mi) later, Highway 19 reaches another interchange, this time with a two-lane road that goes a short distance east to the B.C. Ferry terminal at Buckley Bay. There are two more at-grade intersections on Highway 19 in the 41 km (25 mi) between the Buckley Bay Interchange and the interchange with Highway 4, which goes north into Qualicum Beach. 9 km (5.6 mi) later, Highway 19 goes through another interchange, this time with Highway 4A, which goes east into Parksville. The next interchange, at Craig's Crossing, is another 5 km south (3 mi).

Highway 19, Exit 60 interchange with Highway 4 at Qualicum Beach looking WSW

Past the Craig's Crossing Interchange, Highway 19 resumes its 1953 alignment, which today is a 4-lane, divided arterial highway with a concrete median barrier mostly constructed during the 1970s. The highway passes southeast through the communities of Nanoose Bay and Lantzville before finally entering the north part of Nanaimo. Highway 19 then veers south onto a 20 km (12 mi) long four-lane expressway known as the "Nanaimo Parkway", which has five at-grade intersections along its length. Highway 19's Nanaimo Parkway portion ends at an interchange with the Trans Canada and Cedar Road. At the interchange with Cedar Road, Highway 19 proceeds to share an alignment with the Trans-Canada Highway south for 2 km (1¼ mi) before turning eastward at another interchange (Duke Point Highway). Highway 19 then crosses over the Nanaimo River 2 km (1¼ mi) later, passes through an interchange at Maughan Rd and then goes northward for 5 km (3.1 mi), finally terminating at the B.C. Ferry terminal at Duke Point.


Completed in 1953, the highway was built mostly built along the same route that Highway 19A follows today. It originally only ran from Nanaimo to Campbell River, but since seen two major extensions. The highway was initially extended north to Kelsey Bay to meet B.C. Ferries' service to Prince Rupert in 1965 with its official opening being on the 14 September.[1] A sod turning ceremony had been held three years earlier in April 1962 and was officiated by Phil Gaglardi, the Highways Minister.[2] The cost of the extension was $50 million (equivalent to 437.65 million in 2022)[1]

By 1979, the highway was further extended north to Port Hardy,[3] where it now terminates at the Bear Cove ferry terminal. It was officially opened on 21 September 1979 by highways minister Alex Fraser and premier Bill Bennett.[4][5] With the extension completed, B.C. Ferries moved its southern terminus for the Prince Rupert run north to Port Hardy. Surveying for the extension had started 1970. [6] with the project being fully complete by the summer of 1980.[7] The project cost $65 million (equivalent to $247.89 million in 2022) [5]

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, a highway building program called the Vancouver Island Highway Project saw massive upgrades to the Island Highway from Victoria all the way to Campbell River. A part of the program consisted of the building of many kilometres of new multi-lane highway to replace sections of what is now Highway 19A. Parts of the project included a new bypass of Nanaimo (now known as the Nanaimo Parkway), a short expressway to the Duke Point Ferry Terminal, a bypass of southern Campbell River and a new 128 kilometre expressway between Parksville and Campbell River. [8][9] By early 1996 work was well underway on the aforementioned segments,[10] and later that year, on 5 October, the expressway segment from Mud Bay to Parksville was opened.[8] The second section to open was the Nanaimo Parkway, which opened on 31 May 1997. It was followed shortly by the Duke Point Highway in June,[9] and the Campbell River Bypass on 24 September.[8] The next section, the Courtenay-Mud Bay link was opened almost two years later on 25 September 1999. The last part of the project was the Courtenay-Campbell River expressway, opened on 8 September 2001.[8] As a result of this project, Highway 19 is now the only highway in British Columbia to have ferry terminals at both ends.

Major intersections

Regional DistrictLocationkm[11]miExitDestinationsNotes
NanaimoDuke Point
0.000.00 Duke Point ferry terminal – BC Ferries to Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal
South End of Duke Point Highway segment and southern terminus (Hwy 17 east)
0.270.17(0)private road – Harmac SawmillAt grade, traffic signals; no westbound exit
1.921.19(2)Maughan Road – Biggs Park, Jack PointAt grade; no westbound entrance
Cedar4.262.65(4)Maughan Road – Duke Point Industrial ParkInterchange; eastbound exit, westbound entrance
Nanaimo8.034.997 Hwy 1 (TCH) south – Nanaimo Airport, VictoriaDuke Point Interchange
Hwy 19 branches north; south end of Hwy 1 concurrency; North end of Duke Point Highway segment.
9.976.209 Hwy 1 (TCH) north / Cedar Road – Departure Bay, City Centre, VancouverGrade separated; left-side exit; north end of Hwy 1 concurrency
South end of Nanaimo Parkway segment
16.4910.2516College Drive, Fifth Street – Vancouver Island University
18.4511.4618Jingle Pot Road
21.3413.2621Northfield Road
24.5515.2524Jingle Pot Road, Mostar Road
28.1717.5028Aulds Road
28.6017.77(28B)Mary Ellen DriveNorthbound right-in/right-out; northbound access to Hwy 19A
29.1118.0929 Hwy 19A south (Business Route) to Hwy 1 (TCH) – Departure Bay, VancouverSouthbound only; jughandle intersection; signalized
North end of Nanaimo Parkway segment
Lantzville30.5618.99(30)Ware Road
32.3820.12(32)Superior Road
33.9621.10(34)Lantzville Road
Nanoose Bay40.0024.85(39)Northwest Bay Road
40.3325.06(40)Morello Road
44.3927.58(44)Northwest Bay Logging Road
Parksville46.1928.7046 Hwy 19A north (Oceanside Route)Craig's Crossing Interchange
South end of Inland Island Highway
51.7532.1651 Hwy 4A west / Alberni Highway – CoombsAllsbrook Interchange
Qualicum Beach60.7137.7260 Hwy 4 west / Memorial Avenue – Port AlberniHilliers Interchange
75.1546.7075Horne Lake Road – Qualicum Bay, Bowser
Comox Valley87.2554.2187Cook Creek Road – Deep Bay, Fanny Bay
101.0862.81101 Buckley Bay Road (Hwy 964:2360 east) – Buckley Bay, Union Bay, RoystonInterchange; access to Denman Island/Hornby Island ferry; Hwy 964:2360 is unsigned
South end of Ginger Goodwin Way
Cumberland117.8073.20117 Comox Valley Parkway (Hwy 964:2349 east) – Courtenay, Comox, CFB Comox, FerriesInterchange; access to Powell River via ferry; Hwy 964:2349 is unsigned
North end of Ginger Goodwin Way
127.2779.08127Piercy Road – Courtenay, Comox
130.8881.33130Dove Creek Road, Strathcona Parkway – Mount Washington
144.1089.54144Hamm Road – Black Creek
Strathcona153.7695.54(154)Cranberry Lane
Campbell River161.36100.26161 Jubilee Parkway (Hwy 964:2364 east) – Campbell River AirportHwy 964:2364 is unsigned
167.96104.37167Willis Road
170.43105.90(169) Hwy 28 west / Hwy 19A south (Oceanside Route) – Gold River, City Centre, Quadra Island
North end of Inland Island Highway
234.24145.55Sayward Road (Hwy 964:2371 north) – SaywardHwy 964:2371 is unsigned
Mount Waddington320.96199.44Zeballos Mainline – Zeballos
355.83221.10Beaver Cove Road (Hwy 964:2391 east) – Telegraph CoveHwy 964:2391 is unsigned
Port McNeill363.08225.61 Campbell Way (Hwy 964:2396 north) – Alert Bay, SointulaHwy 964:2396 is unsigned
382.69237.79 Hwy 30 west – Port Alice
Port Hardy398.98247.91Douglas Street (Hwy 964:2398 north) – Port HardySouth end of Bear Cove Highway segment; Hwy 19 branches right; Douglas Street is considered an unofficial alternate route of Hwy 19; Hwy 964:2398 is unsigned
403.63250.80 Bear Cove Ferry Terminal – BC Ferries to Central Coast and Prince Rupert. North end of Bear Cove Highway segment and northern terminus
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
() - Exit not officially numbered


  1. ^ a b Staff Writer (15 September 1965). "Highway Opened". Victoria Daily Times. ProQuest 2257956669 – via
  2. ^ Staff Writer (12 April 1962). "'Dozers Rumble at Road Ceremony". Victoria Daily Times. ProQuest 2257921575 – via
  3. ^ "Hansard extract". July 26, 1979.
  4. ^ Parkin, Tom (21 November 1993). "Extending Island Highway Rough, Exhilarating Work". Times Colonist. ProQuest 345486910 – via
  5. ^ a b Staff Write (19 September 1979). "Road Show Friday". Victoria Times. ProQuest 2261972658 – via
  6. ^ Baines, Ray (October 10, 1971). "The British Columbia RoadRunner - Vol 8, No. 3" (PDF). Roadrunner. Victoria: B.C. Department of Highways (B.C. MOTI). Retrieved September 17, 2021.
  7. ^ Baines, Ray (Autumn 1980). "Road Runner & Carrier, Autumn 1980, Volume 17, Number 3" (PDF). Roadrunner. Victoria: B.C. Department of Highways (B.C. MOTI). Retrieved September 17, 2021.
  8. ^ a b c d B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Highways. "Vancouver Island Highway Project- Inland Island Highway". Archived from the original on 3 October 2002.
  9. ^ a b B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Highways. "Vancouver Island Highway Project - Nanaimo Parkway Highway". Archived from the original on 14 August 2002.
  10. ^ Ministry of Transportation and Highways (1997). British Columbia. Ministry of Transportation and Highways Report 1995/96 (PDF) (Report). p. 26 (29 on PDF). ISSN 1180-5315.
  11. ^ Landmark Kilometre Inventory (PDF). British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (Report). Cypher Consulting. July 2016. pp. 285–305. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 11, 2017. Retrieved March 14, 2017.

External links