WATCH: The long awaited McKenzie interchange project has been delayed yet again. Originally supposed to be finished in 2018, construction is facing another speed bump. Aaron Guillen tells us what’s being blamed for the delay.
The Ministry of Transportation is apologizing for any inconvenience as unexpected factors have “shifted the completion timeline” for the McKenzie interchange project in Saanich.
Forecast to be ready by the end of 2019, the province now says the entire $85 million project including the loop ramp, landscaping and transit facilities is expected to be finished by summer 2020.
“I don’t understand why in our town, these kinds of projects take so long,” says Rob Wickson, former president of the Gorge-Tillicum Community Association.
“I go to Vancouver for one month, and six months later, they build a whole intersection that I hadn’t even known about. How come it takes two and a half, three years, four years, with us?”
Heavy snowfall during construction this past winter was noted by the province as a reason for the delay.
The ministry also says highly variable rock discovered while digging under the existing intersection is a factor.
“It’s sort of that short term pain, but that significant long term gain,” says Janelle Straite, regional deputy director of the Ministry of Transportation.
“It’s gonna give people an opportunity in the afternoons and morning to have a more efficient commute.”
That led to modifications made to the overall design of the interchange’s new centre pier that will hold the bridge that will carry east and westbound traffic over the intersection.
The completion timeline is also affected by adjusted construction schedules in efforts to lessen traffic and noise impacts.
“It’s horrible,” says Karen, a regular commuter from Langford.
“We’ve been waiting for this forever and it’s just backing up traffic further, further, and further.”
On Friday morning, the government said construction on the second and final phase of the project is half-way done, and current work is focused on building the overpass to allow Highway 1 traffic to move without stopping.
Removal of traffic lights on Highway 1 at the interchange is expected this upcoming winter.
The ministry says once completed, commuters will save an estimated 20 minutes travelling from downtown Victoria to the West Shore.