Premier asks for re-do on Highway 14 study

A study on Highway 14 improvement has been delayed for a second time in less than a year at the insistence of Premier John Horgan.

The study, which was expected last spring and then promised again this fall, will now be pushed into 2018.

But with the delay comes an expansion of the study. The first study looked at an area from Langford to Sooke, that will be expanded to include Port Renfrew and West Coast Road.

“This means the ministry will take the report a step further, looking at ways to make travel along this route more reliable and to increase mobility, such as adding future passing lanes and potential short road re-alignments to straighten out some of the curves,” a statement released by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure on Friday reads.

The call to expand the study is welcomed by local politicians.

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait saw an early draft of the report, but it didn’t include comments from referral organizations, such as ICBC, which could identify problematic areas on Highway 14.

“I would rather see [the government] spend a little extra time and get it right,” she said, noting such studies are only done about every 15 years.

For Capital Regional District Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Director Mike Hicks, any improvement to the roadway would be welcomed.

The report is expected to help local government with long-range planning, identify hazardous intersection and even visibility issues.

Both Hicks and Tait agree the biggest issues on Highway 14 are road darkness, dangerous curves, traffic loads and the lack of room for pedestrians.

“The whole road is falling apart because of the heavy trucks,” Hicks said.

A ministry spokesman said the original corridor study focused on safety upgrades because people who frequently travel the route told the government they were concerned about reliability and wanted to see it closed less frequently. The study also looked at ways to promote greater transit use, and how to encourage more cycling over the short and medium time frame.

The first findings identified road and transit improvements that could be implemented over the next year or two, in addition to the work that’s already underway. The review, however, didn’t go far enough to improve mobility along this corridor and to meet the demands of the increasing population, as more and more people make their homes and establish their businesses in the Sooke area.

Tait said Horgan, who is also the MLA for the area, is very familiar with the highway, driving it regularly.

“He knows the highway just as well as I do,” Tait said.

“I’m grateful he’s making sure all the work is fully incorporated.”

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