Bridge to nowhere going somewhere this summer

Spring 2013 slated for opening of Langford's Leigh Road Interchange

Officially it’s the Leigh Road Interchange but to many people in Greater Victoria it’s better known as the “bridge to nowhere.”

But the creatively financed overpass is now scheduled to be complete and opened in late Spring 2013.

Work on Leigh Road up to the bridge deck and on ramp finished in May. The follow up phase, which includes on ramps and off ramps, is going to tender mid-July. Once complete the interchange will be ready for traffic.

“It’s pretty exciting actually,” Langford director of engineering Michelle Mahovlich said. “It’ll be neat to see it opened. From a traffic perspective it’ll certainly help. It’s a pretty big project for the city to undertake. It’s not very often where you build a full interchange like that.”

The overpass stretching over the Trans-Canada Highway was completed in the summer of 2009 but has sat idle since — hence the “bridge to nowhere.” The state of the economy caused the delay, as the $25 million project is being paid for primarily by five private developers on Bear Mountain and South Skirt Mountain. The province is also chipping in $4 million while the municipality is not putting any cash into the project.

“The fact that it’s funded by the developers makes it pretty unique,” Mahovlich said. “It was put on hold for a little bit while the economy was doing its little catch-up thing there.”

The phase about to be tendered will include a northbound on ramp (from Leigh Road on to the Trans-Canada), a southbound onramp (from the Trans-Canada onto the future Bear Mountain Parkway) and the McCallum Road connecter, which will parallel the Trans-Canada Highway from Spencer Road toward Savory Road and connect to Bear Mountain Parkway.

An ambulance station on Leigh Road is also expected to be completed sometime in the spring of 2013.

The city and private developers bought and relocated six houses that used to be on Leigh Road in order to make the road three lanes wide, with bike lanes and a sidewalk. The houses were moved to Brock Avenue on the north side of the highway and the city is still deciding whether to sell or lease them.

More houses are slated for moving from Leigh Road to other locations.

Ikwells@goldstreamgazette.com