WATCH: The partial cloverleaf design is touted as the safest and most efficient option for the region, but it also has the most significant environmental impact. Monica Martinez reports.
Tuesday morning the province revealed they chose the partial cloverleaf design for the new McKenzie Interchange.
The Province said it was preferred by two thirds of people participating in the the public consultation.
Transportation Minister Todd Stone said it’s also the safer and more efficient option.
“This option translates into what we believe will be $4-million in safety benefits in the first 20 years alone,” Stone said.
The Ministry has analyzed traffic patterns, creating videos of the morning and afternoon rush hours as it exists now versus how traffic will flow with the partial cloverleaf design.
“We believe that commuters will save 22 minutes by using the new interchange once it is fully built,” he said.
But this option has the most significant impact on Cuthbert Holmes Park, taking out a 1.4 hectare chunk, but Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell said he’s satisfied the impact to the park will be minimal.
“There’s going to be a wetland type of drainage that’s going to be put in the middle of the cloverleaf and the ministry is looking towards improving the vegetation at the edges of the park where they have the right of way where there currently hasn’t been a lot of vegetation,” said Atwell.
People who live in the Burnside neighbourhood said they will be the ones impacted the most during construction.
“So now they can cut through our neighbourhood and speed through our neighbourhood, and they can cause traffic jams in our own neighbourhood,” said Rob Wickson, president of the Gorge-Tillicum Community Association.
“We don’t want to go anywhere near that but did they measure it in any way? Did they show us what the impacts of the neighbourhood are going to be? No they did not.”
The $85-million project includes bus lanes, transit priority signals, and an overpass for cyclists and pedestrians using the Galloping Goose Trail.
The overpass will be the first item built when construction starts this fall. The entire project is expected to take two years to complete.
There will be traffic delays. The transportation ministry said will minimize disruptions by scheduling work during non-peak hours, evenings, and weekends.
But there really is no avoiding some slow down of the already painfully clogged Colwood Crawl, and that is something that people who regularly commute through there will have to put up with in the short term, for a long-term gain.