WATCH: Significant improvements to Highway 14 were made official Tuesday with residents and commuters alike getting a look at what the $85 million worth of changes will look like. Luisa Alvarez now with why many of them weren’t exactly satisfied.
Highway 14 is getting significant upgrades.
On Tuesday, Premier John Horgan announced a joint investment between the federal and provincial government of $85 million to make it safer for the thousands of commuters that use that road.
In Sooke, between Glinz Lake Road through to Connie Road, the highway will be widened into four lanes with a median barrier and realigned to straighten out some dangerous curves.
“This is one of the most dangerous stretches of Sooke Road so after years of advocacy, I am glad to see that a significant dollar amount is being invested in our community,” said Sooke Mayor Maja Tait.
A new park- and-ride will also be built on Gillespie Road, and between Otter Point Road and Woodhaven Road, there will be wider shoulders built.
But at Tuesday’s announcement, as residents and commuters gathered eagerly to take a look at what it is going to look like, they expressed disappointment. It dawned on them that with an investment this significant an alternate route is probably not in the cards.
“I’m not sure I’m not a fan. I’m still a fan of a secondary route. Once $85 million dollars is spent on this little section I can’t see them ever putting in a secondary route,” said Gerry Esselink, who lives along Sooke Road.
Janelle Staite, deputy regional director for the Ministry of Transportation, didn’t directly shut down the idea of a secondary route but did say the province wanted to invest in already existing infrastructure.
“And here is a 1.4 km realignment that we can invest in to make a significant improvement for commuters that are travelling back and forth between Sooke,” said Staite.
Many Sooke residents already knew these improvements were coming. Several months ago some homeowners between Glinz Lake Road and Connie Road were approached about having to sell their properties or sections of their properties to make way.
Horgan confirmed 27 properties will be affected and they have all been contacted. In total, six properties will have to be completely expropriated. Horgan also said all but one have accepted the provinces offer.
“The public opinion polls say this isn’t what we want but this is what we are getting so I guess we will have to figure out how we are going to work with this,” said Eric Boucher, chairman of the North Sooke Community Association.
There will also be some improvements in Langford. The stretch of Highway 1 between Leigh Road and Westshore Parkway will be widened from three lanes to four and a new median marrier to sperate traffic will also be added.
Construction will last two years and is expected to begin spring of 2020.