McKen­zie in­ter­change de­tour planned

South­bound route coming in Novem­ber and more blast­ing nec­es­sary: of­fi­cial

Times Colonist - - The Capital And Vancouver Island - JEFF BELL

The next big change for traf­fic pat­terns through the McKen­zie in­ter­change project will come in Novem­ber with the ad­di­tion of a de­tour route for the south­bound lanes, says Janelle Staite, deputy re­gional di­rec­tor for the Min­istry of Trans­porta­tion.

Staite was speak­ing dur­ing a Fri­day me­dia tour of the con­struc­tion.

“We thought it was a great op­por­tu­nity to just give the pub­lic an up­date on where we’re at with the project,” she said, adding that there have been “lots of ques­tions, lots of in­ter­est.”

Con­struc­tion of the $85-mil­lion project be­gan in late 2016.

“We’re at about the 20-month mark, so re­ally past that half­way mark in a project that’s go­ing to be done at the end of 2019,” Staite said.

When work is com­plete, it is es­ti­mated that peo­ple head­ing ei­ther way dur­ing peak morn­ing and af­ter­noon traf­fic will save up to 20 min­utes of trav­el­ling time.

Changes on the south­bound lanes will al­low work to pro­ceed on the ul­ti­mate ver­sion of the high­way, she said. “We’re in the process of build­ing the de­tour ramps that will be ac­tu­ally used to get traf­fic off of High­way 1, over onto the de­tour.”

The high­way bed will even­tu­ally be com­pletely dif­fer­ent. “We’re low­er­ing the high­way seven me­tres from where it is cur­rently to be able to al­low for the fu­ture con­struc­tion of the in­ter­change,” Staite said.

McKen­zie Av­enue and Ad­mi­rals Road will stay at their cur­rent grades and be con­nected by a bridge.

The low­er­ing process for the high­way will bring in­creased blast­ing, Staite said.

She said res­i­dents will be kept in­formed and given plenty of ad­vance no­tice of the blast­ing. Some peo­ple have com­plained about the im­pact of pre­vi­ous blast­ing near their homes.

“If there’s dif­fer­ent al­ter­ations that we can do from a con­struc­tion per­spec­tive, from a ve­hi­cle per­spec­tive or even just a rout­ing per­spec­tive, we’ll cer­tainly look at ac­com­mo­dat­ing that work­ing with the con­trac­tor,” Staite said.

Sound walls will be an im­por­tant part of the fi­nal prod­uct, she said.

“We rec­og­nize that 85,000 cars a day gen­er­ate quite a bit of noise coming through that,” Staite said. “We did a noise as­sess­ment as part of the project.”

The walls’ dis­tinct green-and-sil­ver pan­els are ready for in­stal­la­tion, both on the high­way and on McKen­zie.

Staite said mo­torists should be aware that sum­mer traf­fic flow will be dif­fer­ent once school starts, since there are a num­ber of schools in the area.

“When Septem­ber starts up again we see sum­mer traf­fic change,” she said. “We’re see­ing that school traf­fic come back and so we’ll cer­tainly see some ad­just­ments there, and the min­istry will keep a close eye to see if we need to do any changes to our traf­fic man­age­ment on the cor­ri­dor to keep the flow as smooth as we can.”

B.C. Tran­sit will be ac­com­mo­dated with a ded­i­cated north­bound lane on the high­way shoul­der. “Tran­sit car­ries roughly 40 per cent of users on the cor­ri­dor. It only makes up three per cent of the ac­tual ve­hi­cles on the cor­ri­dor,” Staite said.

An over­view of the McKen­zie in­ter­change project as of Fri­day, as of­fi­cials pro­vided an up­date on progress and plans.

Work pro­ceeds on the $85M project Fri­day.

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