Randy and Trent McClure with Don Mann Excavating plant a tree Wednesday as part of the ongoing Island Highway Improvement project. The road is now expected to be open to two-way traffic in mid-June.

View Royal feeling the pressure of commuter frustration

  • May. 19, 2011 10:00 a.m.

In View Royal it’s not unusual for residents to call their mayor at home to lament on municipal issues, but when they start dialing the rest of council, you know they’re really upset.

For the past month, Coun. David Screech says his phone has been ringing far more than usual and the complaint is always the same: People are sick of waiting in road construction queues.

And who can blame them — delays on the Island Highway Improvement Project have closed the busy commuter route months longer then expected and led to it overlapping with a second project on Island Highway near Six Mile Road.

“People are at a breaking point,” Screech said. “You can’t blame them for wanting someone to call. I guess they look me up in the phone book.”

He brought residents’ concerns to a committee of the whole meeting where city engineers give monthly updates on the roadwork.

“They want to know is when will it be over, when two-way traffic be back to normal,” Screech told the engineers.

At last update, the delays were blamed on utility companies needing to work on the road to install their wires underground. Once the utility poles were down, council was told, regular traffic would resume in short order.

But the poles have been down since April, and the traffic lineups are as long as ever.

“We were told the work sites would be smaller and delays would be shorter,” Coun. Heidi Rast said.

Director of engineering Emmet McCusker has become the bearer of bad news at these monthly meetings, though he tries to focus on the positive: The rain gardens are functioning, the curbs and sidewalks are finished, and street lights are on.

Crews are now focused on landscaping gardens in the median, which some councillors suggested could be done with the road open. But McCusker said that wasn’t possible.

“We need the closure for worker safety,” he said, noting there are also work going on throughout construction zone, which is why the work zone hasn’t shrunk as expected.

When pushed to provide a final date of completion, McCusker estimated the road would re-open June 17 for two-way traffic.

“There’s enough slack in that estimate we should be okay,” he said, but not without adding, “unless we get a week of rain.”

Work in Portage Park and completion of an artistic rock wall along the roadway will continue after the road is re-opened, he said.

Meanwhile, work is underway elsewhere on Island Highway from the View Royal border to Six Mile Road. The project, funded by the Great Canadian Casino, will repair the road surface with new asphalt and improved marking, adding a cycling lane and sidewalk, as adding street lighting and a traffic light at Hart Road.

Work on that project is timed around keeping commuter lanes open during peak hours, meaning no work on the eastbound (towards Victoria) lane is done in the morning and the westbound lanes are clear in the afternoon. An effort is also made to keep one lane of traffic open in each direction at all times and traffic signal timing has been adjusted to reduce gridlock.

“We’ve changed the timing on the Wilfert Road signal to give Island Highway traffic more time to clear,” said View Royal superintendent of engineering Deb Becelaere.

Councillors noted they’ve heard few complains about the Casino project, which is expected to continue until September.

“The biggest issue is access to businesses along the road,” said Screech, putting forward a unanimously supported motion that the Town relax its signing regulations to allow the business along that stretch more opportunity to advertise that they’re still open.

Updates on both construction projects are available on the town website, www.viewroyal.ca.



Just Posted

Number of SD62 kindergarten registrations about same as last year

Approximately 850 kindergarten registrations for 2019/2020 school year

28 years later: Dunahee disappearance remains largest investigation in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

City of Langford mails out information on sewer connection requirement

Plan lays out obligations, exemptions and financial assistance information for the costly hookup

Update: BC Transit driver taken to hospital with serious injuries after assault

Driver attempted to stop an altercation between two people on the bus

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo

B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

Most Read