The Goldstream exit off the Trans Canada Highway in Langford is soon to be no more.
“Langford has demonstrated an extraordinary and award-winning approach to community development,” said Minister of Transportation Todd Stone said at Monday’s announcement of $2.5 million for improvements to the transportation infrastructure along Highway 1 through Langford, “one which I believe is a model for cities right across the province and indeed the country,” and one which the province is interested in supporting.
That $2.5 million will be matched by the city to complete the $5-million infrastructure project.
“The improvements being announced today will not only improve the safety for motorists, but will also improve traffic flow and will make travelling the route a much more pleasant experience for everyone,” Stone said.
The focus of the project will be a southbound offramp at Leigh Road, but will also include a southbound acceleration lane from Westshore Parkway onto the highway. Once those upgrades are completed, the Goldstream Avenue and Spencer Road connections to the highway will be closed.
“The residents of Goldstream Avenue will feel a whole lot safer because of this announcement today,” said Langford Mayor Stew Young, adding that it’s been a long time coming.
“It’s been 22 years trying to get this done,” said Young, but there were other priorities that needed to be addressed – specifically the Millstream interchange and the Leigh Road onramp.
“Those interchanges needed to be built before we could shut (Goldstream) down, because you have to have other access in. So now that we’ll have an offramp at Leigh Road, we can go ahead and shut this one down.”
The Leigh Road offramp, Young said, is also expected to create another strong area of the city in terms of the local economy, citing the economic boom on Millstream Road, where he says 4,000 permanent jobs were created after the installation of the interchange.
“Or next project is to get across those tracks,” Young said, pointing across Langford Lake, referencing the $24-million Westshore Parkway extension, which will link the Trans Canada Highway to Sooke Road.
The area of Goldstream being shut to through-traffic from the highway will be developed into recreational facilities and an RV park.
“This was a little country road that was designed for people to have cabins on the lake,” Young said. “Now it’s been taking traffic off the highway for the last 20 years. This will be a really nice neighbourhood when it’s done. This will now be a part of our community instead of just a thoroughfare with vehicles driving down here.”
“This was a priority that had been identified by the City of Langford as well as by the province,” Stone said, as Goldstream is “a very narrow road in places and a densely populated area.”
“The traffic (coming off the highway) has caused all kinds of issues for particularly the residents along Goldstream Avenue.
“Once we get the offramp in place at the Leigh Road interchange, it’s going to divert a whole bunch of the traffic that presently is clogging up Goldstream,” Stone said.
Work on the project is scheduled to begin this summer and completed by year’s end.