Bumper to bumper: Petition garners over 2,000 signatures for immediate solution to Sooke traffic woes

CHEK

Like it or not, Sooke’s summer soundtrack is a series of honks and beeps.

Whether it’s a dump truck backing up or a frustrated driver on Sooke’s Highway 14, the issue of extended commuted times is drowning out all others.

“Normally it takes about 30 minutes to drive from Langford to Sooke,” says Dana Lajeunesse, Sooke’s deputy mayor. “We’re looking at times between an hour and an hour and a half.”

Two weeks ago construction began to repair a culvert in an environmentally sensitive section of Charters Road, a well-worn workaround for drivers looking to bypass Sooke’s City Centre. With the alternate route out of service, the traffic backups have compounded in Sooke, and action is being taken online.

A petition has just over 2,000 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon. The complaints have reached the office of Juan de Fuca-Langford MLA Ravi Parmar, who has requested a meeting with the District of Sooke to hopefully fast track some options.

READ PREVIOUS: Petitioner seeks ‘effective solutions’ to traffic gridlock in Sooke

“I’m certainly calling on local government to prioritize the Throup Road connector,” says Parmar.

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The stretch of road in question is currently a forested trail, but creating a road would provide another option for drivers, connecting it with Phillips Road. Schematics and design have been conducted, but the major hurdle is money.

Lajeunesse says the project price tag is roughly $25 million.

READ PREVIOUS: ‘Gridlocked’: Sooke drivers buckle up for long summer commute due to construction

“One hundred thousand dollars is roughly a one per cent tax increase, so we’re looking at about a 15,000 per cent increase to get it done overnight,” Lajeunesse said.

What Lajeunesse would like to see is provincial funding and cooperation. Parmar feels the road to a reasonable commute lies in cooperation between governments, but he says the fast lane to a solution doesn’t lie in improvements to Highway 14.

“I’m not an engineer, but it’s very clear to me what the issue is and it’s the distribution of traffic and not improvements on Highway 14 alone will solve that issue,” Parmar said.

The Charters Road Culvert project is slated to be completed in October.

Jordan Cunningham

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