Construction on a new stretch of the E&N shared-use and bike paths to connect the trail with the rest of the downtown cycling network will begin Monday, according to the City of Victoria.
Part of the construction for the Kimta E&N cycling connector will see a new stretch of shared-use paths on Esquimalt Road between Springfield and Catherine streets.
The network will then continue onto Kimta Road as a protected bike lane on the north side of the road until Tyee Road. From there until the Johnson Street Bridge will be shared-use paths.
The city will also install new pedestrian and bike crossing on Esquimalt Road at Robert Street, on Catherine Street and on Kimta Road at Tyee Road.
The estimated cost of the project is $2 million with funds coming from the federal and provincial governments. The provincial government contributed $500,000 through the 2021/2022 Active Transportation Infrastructure Grants Program.
“The Province continues to invest in active transportation infrastructure as part of our commitment to our CleanBC climate plan, and to help more people access safe and affordable transportation options,” said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming.
“This project will improve pedestrian and cyclist safety, and add continuity to a regional transportation route, which will help more people in the Capital Region choose active travel.”
A spokesperson for the City of Victoria wasn’t sure exactly how much the federal government, but said it makes up “most of the remainder.”
In 2021-2022, Victoria received $3,833,754 from the Canada Community-Building Fund, and received a $3,667,997 top-up from the same fund.
The E&N bike trail is part of the Capital Regional District’s trail network, and this extension is part of the city’s AAA bike network.
Colin Plant, the CRD’s board chair, says this extension carries regional significance.
“This route fills a significant gap in the regional cycling network, providing a high quality and safe connection between the E&N Regional Trail and the City’s cycling network,” Plant said. “Expanding regional mobility networks helps us address the transportation needs of our growing region while taking action on climate change – two of the CRD Board’s strategic priorities.”
Dr. Michael Benusic, medical health officer with Island Health, applauded the project.
“I am pleased to see all levels of government working together on this project,” Benusic said. “Building safe and connected active travel infrastructure is a meaningful community health intervention with significant positive health outcomes.”
Sparker Construction is the prime contractor for the project, which is expected to take six months to complete.
“The City is thrilled to partner with the Province and CRD to expand safe, affordable and convenient transportation options for residents, commuters and visitors,” said Mayor Lisa Helps. “Providing multi-modal transportation options that connect schools, employment areas and other destinations is one key strategy that can help reduce the cost of living in the City.”