Disruptions and delays are coming to one of the busiest traffic areas on the Saanich Peninsula.
Officials with the Town of Sidney are urging residents to look for alternatives to travel along Beacon Avenue West and Galaran Road because of construction along those roads starting Sept. 6 and lasting until the end of October.
York Reality — which is currently constructing the new Amazon facility — will install storm drains and construct sidewalks as part of road improvements along Beacon Avenue West and Galaran Road. “Best to take an alternate route if possible during this time,” reads a social media post. According to the municipality, York Realty will ensure traffic signs and flaggers are in place to minimize traffic disruptions.
The area is one of the busiest traffic areas in Sidney. According to the Beacon Avenue West Study, the section of Beacon Avenue West from Galaran Road to Stirling Way (nearly identical to the impacted area shown by the municipality on a map) recorded average annual daily traffic (AADT) of 10,957 during a three-day count in September 2020 as part of a study. The section of Galaran Road from Jahn Place to Skylark Lane is also busy, having recorded an AADT of 2,686. (That report surveyed a total of six intersections in the area and notes that both Beacon and Galaran Road are under-classified).
Chief administrative officer Randy Humble said later the work will include a temporary closure of Galaran Road south of Jahn Place for a few days during the construction project. “There will be a small traffic detour in place during these few days, routing residents to Henry Avenue West,” he said. “Drivers may want to take another route to avoid construction if an alternative route is convenient.”
Beginning September 6 until late October, York Realty Inc. will be undertaking road improvements along Beacon Ave W and Galaran Rd, including storm drain installation, road repaving, and sidewalk construction. Best to take an alternate route if possible during this time. pic.twitter.com/EwdFDLmeCF— Town of Sidney (@townofsidneybc) August 31, 2022
Alternative routes, however, appear limited. Residents of Galaran Road and other smaller residential roads off it can avoid West Beacon Avenue by way of Mills Road and Henry Avenue, provided they are prepared to access Mills Road off West Saanich Road on the other side of the Peninsula with West Saanich Road accessible off Willingdon Road — the main access road to Victoria International Airport — or Lands Ends Road near the Swartz Bay ferry terminal.
The impacted area is also home to children attending Sidney Elementary School. During the school year, children regularly walk on West Beacon Avenue along a designated path on the northern side of the road before crossing Highway 17 with crossing-guards helping them along the way. Children can also access a path on the west side of Highway 17.
Humble also addressed this issue in his comments. “Safe active transportation routes in the area will remain in place, including the flight path and the bike path that runs along the west side of the Pat Bay Highway,” he said. “For this reason, we do not expect students walking or biking to Sidney Elementary to be significantly impacted by the road work.
The impacted area is also near commercial and industrial enterprises in both Sidney and North Saanich and it remains to be seen how the work will impact them. People living and working in the area, however, have likely already adjusted to construction in and around the Amazon facility. Sidney, North Saanich and the Victoria Airport Authority are finalizing plans and financing for the proposed roundabout at the intersection of Galaran Road and Beacon Avenue West and the realignment of nearby Stirling Way to help improve traffic flow.
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