The province’s plan to fix a notorious turn-off on the Peninsula is under fire for not going far enough.
The turn from northbound lanes of Highway 17 onto Keating Cross Road requires drivers to cross the opposing highway lanes briefly, the province is planning to put in a flyover overpass project that would create an offramp instead.
The southbound on-ramp would be realigned, but residents say heavy commercial traffic trying to leave Keating and head northbound has to pass through residential streets and a school zone.
“The left-hand turn across the highway is incredibly unsafe. Has to be addressed, and is being addressed. What needs to be put into consideration is Keating northbound,” said Andrea Frias, a concerned parent.
“So all that traffic is still routed past the elementary school. Yesterday, I watched someone in a corporate van yelling at our crossing guard because they were stopped at the crosswalk to let children to school. It does get more aggressive they don’t want to be in that narrow corridor to get to work and we just want to drop our kids off safely.”
Frias says the province emailed her saying the “current project is the safest, least invasive and cost-effective option.”
But she and others say the original concept, for a full interchange, will be better and an online petition calling for a full interchange has more than 360 signatures so far.
“This is the time to complete the project. Why build half?” said John Treleaven of the Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Victoria. “Taking semi-trucks past the front door of the elementary school is not a good idea.”
Treleaven says there have been talks in the municipality of creating another route, but that it could all be solved with a full interchange.
“The jobs of thousands of people across the region are generated by Butchart Gardens, Keating Industrial Park,” said Treleaven. “55 per cent of everything manufactured in Greater Victoria is manufactured here. Why should it be left up to Central Saanich alone?”
In a statement, the ministry told CHEK News that the current flyover overpass is the best option for the location following a lengthy review of all options conducted in 2017.
“The new sidewalks on Keating Cross Road will make it safer for children to get to Keating Elementary School. The ministry and the District of Central Saanich are exploring other opportunities as part of the project in and around the school,” the statement said.
Public consultation is underway until March 24.
The province says feedback will be considered in the final design and approval for funding is expected sometime in the spring.