EDITORIAL: Spencer closure timing confusing

Drivers will have to find alternative routes onto the Trans-Canada

When it comes to high-speed traffic flow, safety is clearly the primary concern.

But we still don’t understand the timing of Monday’s closure of the Spencer Road southbound access onto the Trans-Canada Highway by the province and the City of Langford.

City staff told us the province tries to limit the number of entry and exit points on its highways to improve traffic flow. That makes sense on paper, but the reality is that drivers will find other routes to link up with the main road to town, especially in this growing city, and they’ll create more congestion.

Traffic that might otherwise use Spencer to reach the highway will join the fray on Goldstream Avenue. During the morning commute, those vehicles are going to filter down Peatt Road, Veteran’s Memorial Parkway and Goldstream Avenue to Island Highway, making those routes even busier.

There may not be a ton of vehicles getting onto the TCH at Spencer and looking to avoid the daily backups at Peatt and Veteran’s, but why do we need one access taken away before construction on the southbound Highway 1 off-ramp to Leigh Road is even started and before TCH traffic is actually being removed ahead of Millstream Road?

Adding cars and trucks to an already crowded Millstream interchange will only add to the frustration and increase the potential for dangerous situation, as drivers jockey for space as they head onto the TCH.

The closure of the Spencer Road access is linked to the $5 million Leigh Road Interchange Project, which includes the new off-ramp, the eventual and much-needed closure of the TCH exit onto Goldstream Avenue, and a new southbound acceleration lane from Westshore Parkway.

Assuming that Bear Mountain Parkway will someday connect with the TCH, building an off-ramp at Leigh Road is a logical choice, in that it will help reduce traffic along the congested Millstream corridor. But why not leave the Spencer Road access alone for now? It’s not as if people need time to get used to it. Signage and barriers can do the trick whenever such changes occur.

From a standpoint of traffic flow, even the revamped acceleration lane at Westshore Parkway won’t add traffic to the TCH until that disconnected part of Langford is linked to the rest of the city through the Westhills area.

We look forward to hearing more about the master plan for traffic around Langford. With Spencer Road, however, it seems the city is putting the cart before the horse.