McKenzie Interchange project now ‘substantially complete,’ says BC Gov’t

McKenzie Interchange project now 'substantially complete,' says BC Gov't
File Photo
Traffic flows freely through Highway 1 at the McKenzie Interchange on Dec. 19, 2019.

The B.C. Government has announced that the McKenzie Interchange project along Highway 1 is now considered “substantially complete.”

The central components of the project, such as the McKenzie Avenue exit loop ramp and free-flowing traffic on Highway 1, have officially opened for the use of commuters on a daily basis. The dual right turn on-ramp from McKenzie Avenue to Highway 1 North has also opened at this time.

“The Trans-Canada Highway is a vital route for both residents and tourists. It connects people to school, work, as well as important attractions and services on Vancouver Island. Our investments in improved road safety also make it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to get around whether they’re commuting or staying active,” said Catherine McKenna, federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “Canada’s Infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across Canada and builds stronger communities.”

In addition to creating “shorter morning and afternoon commutes” for the public, the government says the new project improves safety as well, for both drivers and cyclists as part of the project included the completion of a new Galloping Goose Trail Bridge that crosses McKenzie Avenue.

“The traffic congestion at this intersection had long been a source of frustration,” said Claire Trevena, B.C.’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “People are now saving time on their commutes, and transit users and those who cycle are also benefiting from improvements made.”

The government said in a press release issued on Friday morning that bus priority lanes will soon be opening, with the hope of improving travel times for people using transit.

“On behalf of Langford residents, we are excited to see the substantial completion of the McKenzie Interchange project,” said Stew Young, mayor of Langford. “This project will significantly decrease commute times, allowing Langford residents to get home faster to spend more time with their families and loved ones.”

Previously, the Highway 1-McKenzie intersection had been the number one bottleneck in the province outside of the Lower Mainland.

Last December, the McKenzie Interchange project completed the Trans-Canada Highway portion, opening up to free-flow traffic, and this summer saw the completion of the partial cloverleaf designed loop ramp.

“We’re grateful for the continuous improvements the Province is making in our transportation infrastructure between Colwood and other areas of our region,” said Rob Martin, mayor of Colwood. “These improvements do more than move cars. They allow people to spend less time in traffic and more time with their families and enjoying other activities that promote well-being.”

In the press release, the government highlights safety benefits for students at nearby schools as well, stating children “no longer need to walk along the shoulder of the busy Trans-Canada Highway or cross the highway at a traffic signal to get to and from school.”

Although the project has been declared substantially complete, work on the stormwater treatment pond and final landscaping is continuing through the fall, said the government, and commuters can expect to see active construction as the final pieces are finished.

The government is asking drivers to continue to observe the direction of traffic control personnel and signage through the construction site.

The total cost of the McKenzie Interchange project has totalled $96 million, according to the Province.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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