The E&N Rail Trail-Humpback Connector is, as the name implies, being constructed largely within the E&N Rail corridor.
The project began in 2009 and once completed will stretch 17 kilometres to provide a non-motorized transportation link between the West Shore and Victoria.
The completion of the Esquimalt portion of the trail finishes phase one of the project and opens a nine-kilometre portion, stretching from Esquimalt to Burnside roads. This phase of the project cost approximately $1.1 million.
“This part of the trail isn’t even officially open yet, but we’ve already had people walking and riding their bikes along the path. It’s actually pretty great to see the level of interest,” said Dan Marten, senior project engineer with the Capital Regional District responsible for the project.
Once completed the entire trail will come with a price tag of more than $36 million, with funds coming from the Federal Gas Tax Fund, Recreational Infrastructure Canada Program, B.C. Local Motion Fund, the Provincial Cycling Infrastructure Program, and the CRD’s capital funds.
“Our next priority is the completion of the portion that leads all the way up to the West Shore,” said Marten. “We’ll be applying for funding through the Gas Tax Fund so it’s important for us to have our application for those funds nailed down and in place.”
Beyond the run up to the West Shore, a few missing links still exist within the current path system. A connector route is planned from the Johnson Street Bridge to the rail crossing at Esquimalt Road. Where the E&N Rail Trail crosses Admirals Road, there is a section that cuts through Songhees First Nation’s land. That section, along Maplebank Road to Hallowell Road, has not been undertaken as negotiations continue.
The next phases will link the trails together.