Province commits $10 million for immediate safety and congestion improvements on Highway 14. File photo.

Province commits $10 million for immediate safety and congestion improvements on Highway 14. File photo.

The province says work will start immediately to improve safety and congestion along the Sooke Road corridor.

Premier John Horgan announced the first phase of improvements, which include $10 million in upgrades.

The safety improvements will see a new two-lane bridge on Gillespie Road for an alternate route to Highway 14, three bus pullouts on both sides of the road, new safety signs, a slow-moving pullout between Sooke and French Beach and a rest area at the Sombrio lookout.

The bus pullouts are located at the West Shore Parkway, Laidlaw and Harbourview Roads while a bus queue-jump lane will be placed at Jacklin Road.

The design is also starting right away for the Sooke River Road intersection upgrade.

“For too long, people on the West Shore have been frustrated by mounting congestion and traffic bottlenecks,” Horgan said in a release.

“Highway 14 is an essential connection for people on southern Vancouver Island, and we’re making travel safer and less stressful so people can spend more time with their families, instead of sitting in traffic.”

Mayors on the West Shore called on the province to speed up safety improvements to the busy stretch of road.

The province carried out a study on a 22-kilometre stretch of Highway 14 between Langford and Sooke and officials say the next phase for work on Sooke Road will be announced later in the year based on public consultation and engineering work.

The focus will be on major intersection upgrades, passing opportunities, making the shoulders safer for cyclists and other transit-related upgrades.

Andy Neal