5 Reasons Why We Moved That DriveBC HighwayCam

If you live in the Duncan/Cowichan Lake area, you may have noticed one of the three DriveBC HighwayCams on Highway 18 has been unavailable recently. Don’t worry – it’s not down for good. It’s actually being moved to a nearby location.

DriveBC HighwayCams don’t always stay put. The current Highway 18 webcam relocation got us thinking it would be helpful to you if we explained some of the reasons why we might move a webcam. If we shift a webcam’s gaze, it’s likely due to at least one of the following five factors.

1. “Can you see me now?” Finding better service

Mainroad South Island Contracting owns and maintains the Highway 18 webcam, which had been running on solar power and a weak cellular signal since it was installed nine years ago, causing reliability issues. Since there is a second HighwayCam further down the highway, at Skutz Falls, Mainroad decided the webcam would be more useful if positioned at the South Shore Road/Pacific Marine Road intersection, which connects Lake Cowichan to Port Renfrew as part of the Pacific Marine Circle Route.

Reliability will be enhanced because the new location has phone lines and a direct power source, allowing the webcam to connect directly rather than relying on a weak cellular signal and solar power. The new location also has… (Wait for it…)

2. Good lighting!

A webcam will go dark at night unless it has sufficient lighting. Some webcams rely on streetlights, and some webcams are equipped with an infrared illuminator, which provides light long enough for the webcam to snap a good shot without distracting drivers.

But not all webcams have either of these light sources. In these cases, you can get an idea of traffic levels by the number of headlights, but actual road conditions remain a dark mystery. Two street lights at the new Cowichan Lake location will provide ample light for the webcam, which had been going dark at night at its old location.

3. Damage control

Webcams are sometimes involved in vehicle incidents or damaged in some other way. A webcam’s power may be cut, the supporting pole for the camera may be broken, or any number of things could happen to reduce its performance. To prevent a webcam from being damaged repeatedly, we may move it to a safer location.

4. Environmental hazards

When appropriate, we choose to install webcams facing north to avoid glare from the sun, but there are other environmental hazards that may warrant a move. For example, if a webcam lens is affected by spray or debris from heavy traffic, we might move it to another spot.

A webcam is here, but not for long.

5. Privacy

In an effort to protect your privacy, we present webcam views at low resolution. However, if we receive a complaint from a resident concerned about, say, their home being visible in a webcam view, we will consider changing the webcam’s direction or location.

The DriveBC HighwayCams network includes nearly 400 views at about 290 locations (and counting!) across the province. We want B.C. travellers to know what to expect – from traffic levels to weather/road conditions – before committing to a route. We’re always looking for ways to improve this service, and sometimes that means finding a webcam a new home.

Hopefully this blog post answers your questions. Please feel free to comment below if a query moves you.

Page 1 of 20 comments on “5 Reasons Why We Moved That DriveBC HighwayCam”

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  1. I agree with the comments above, I used the camera regularly. It was at least as relyable as the Malahat cameras that seem to go down with the hint of bad weather.

  2. why is it that highways doesn’t have a webcam on highway19 on top of the tsitika summit by the weather station between sayward and woss.

    • Hi Janice,

      Thanks for letting us know your opinion on this move, we really appreciate it. We are sharing it forward with the district.

  3. Hill 60 is the worst part of highway 18, I am sorry to tell you that moving the camera to Pacific Marine Rd intersection isn’t a decision I agree with. Adding a camera, yes, but to lose one on this stretch of highway was not in my opinion a well thought out choice.

    • The Hwy 18 camera that was removed from Hill 60 area “This cam is currently unavailable. It is being moved to another location in the area. Stay tuned!” has been moved WELL out of the area to Mesachie Lake and the Circle Route – a route that is only well traveled in the summer months not during inclement weather like today! Commuters relied on that camera. Sure would be nice to see what it’s like on Hwy 18 instead of guessing if we should try to go into Duncan or not! The camera at Skutz Falls junction does NOT give an idea of what is going on at Hill 60 where the other camera was. There are huge differences in the locations; huge. Ask commuters. Ask those that plow the highway. None of your 5 reasons makes too much sense. The camera at Hill60 was well used for years and as reliable as most other cameras.

      • Hi K,

        Thanks for connecting with us, and letting us know of your concern.

        I’ve asked our HwyCam guy to consider your request for future BC HighwayCam locations.

        Just to reassure you, requests for B.C Highway Cam installation are added to our plans for future locations. Our team is always grateful for feedback because we rely on it when choosing new camera locations.