This week the City of Langford celebrated the progress being made on the long-awaited connection linking Bear Mountain Parkway near the top of the hill, with Leigh Road and the Trans-Canada Highway at the bottom.
Virtually all of council were in office when the original deal was made to complete this road some years back. But that was a previous developer and it’s taken a while to reach the point where current Bear Mountain owner/operator Ecoasis was ready to continue the work that was stalled shortly after it started.
The Leigh Road overpass sat for years unconnected, earning it the nickname, “the road to nowhere.” But the City, as development has progressed and extended into north Langford, has worked to connect various roads and make the Leigh Road interchange a functional piece of traffic infrastructure.
That functionality will be further improved by the completion of the new road, which will give residents on the mountain another route out of their neighbourhood, a handy thing for those heading up Island.
And while the creation of a second outlet valve for traffic flowing from the fast-growing Bear Mountain area will alleviate a certain amount of gridlock on Millstream Road, especially during the morning commute, don’t for a minute believe the new road will do anything to reduce the amount of traffic involved in the eastbound crawl.
Drivers will take what they believe to be the shortest route out, even if that means they have to sit in a long line waiting to turn left off the Millstream overpass onto the TCH.
The recent announcement that a second left turn lane will be installed may have been welcomed by those who do the daily jockeying to get into the single existing lane. But with two lanes of right-turning vehicles already entering the highway from the other direction, will two left-turn lanes accomplish much?
The answers aren’t simple and the sheer volume of traffic makes it risky to consider drastic changes, a la the McKenzie interchange.
We’re willing to wait and see how things pan out and hope for improved traffic flow, but we’re not holding our breath on this one.