Get ready to ride, run and stroll, as the Capital Regional District’s E&N Rail Trail nears completion.
The cycling and pedestrian path within the E&N rail corridor is intended to provide a new route between the West Shore and downtown Victoria.
An open house is being hosted by CRD at Strawberry Vale Community Hall (11 High St.) in View Royal tomorrow (June 27) from 4 to 7 p.m.
The public is invited to meet with the key players and hear about trail developments.
“We just want to show people all that has been going on over the years, and where we’re at and where we’re heading,” CRD Regional Parks planner Carolyn Stewart said.
Phase 1 of the project is ongoing with several project areas over 6.6 kilometres of new trail. Funding for the project has come from government grants and from the CRD’s capital funds.
The first three are complete, including the stretch from Jacklin Rd. to Savory School in Langford, the paving of the Galloping Goose from Wale Road to Burnside West (the two trails are co-located for this stretch) and the building of four bridges, including the one at Helmcken Rd. and Island Hwy.).
In progress is the stretch from Esquimalt Rd. to Admirals and Colville roads intersection. The paving is mostly done for this bit, but some safety upgrades to intersections are needed before it can open.
Project areas five and six are also ongoing, incorporating stretches from Admirals Road to Maplebank Road, in Esquimalt and from Hallowell Road to the Island Highway in View Royal.
The View Royal stretch is supposed to be done at the end of the month. Phase 1 is hoped to be complete by the end of the year.
“There are times when it’s hard to see the progress. There actually has been a lot of progress and we want people to know we’re trying our hardest to get this done for them,” Stewart said.
Phase 2 will begin in the fall, and will finish the stretch from Island Highway at 4-Mile Bridge to Burnside West interchange.
There is expected to be an official opening once Phase 1 is complete, although many sections are currently open and used.
Future phases are in the planning, including a route in Langford from Atkins Road to Savory School and Jacklin Road to Humpback Road. There is no funding in place yet for these phases. The CRD will be looking to Langford council for input on which option has priority.
A stretch from the Johnson Street Bridge to Esquimalt Road is also planned for the future.
“It’ll be another awesome trail connecting the communities in the region,” Stewart said. “This will provide both a route for active transportations … for the Western Communities into Victoria, which is tremendous, (and also) a recreational route.”
To connect View Royal and Esquimalt, the trail would have to go through Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations lands. No deal has been reached yet, but work is ongoing to reach an arrangement.