The east-bound lane of Bay Street Bridge will remain closed until October (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

City says traffic pattern on Bay Street Bridge will stay as is until October

Commuters began facing long waits on Tuesday morning after the east-bound lane was closed

The first week of construction on the Point Ellice Bridge is going as planned, says city staff.

Commuters have faced massive congestion following the closure of the east-bound lane of the bridge on Bay Street since May 21. The closure will be in effect until October to accommodate infrastructural updates.

By the end of the week, however, congestion was slightly lifted.

“The first couple of days have been difficult for drivers, but we are seeing traffic patterns becoming more established and delays becoming reduced,” said Phillip Bellefontaine, City of Victoria assistant director, transportation. “People need to think about the routes they choose, and also the time of day they travel… it’s that predictability and certainty that we feel would have the biggest impact.”

READ MORE: Eastbound traffic closure on Bay Street Bridge starts May 21

Cinching this lane only leaves the Johnson Street Bridge as the direct alternative route to downtown Victoria, with a longer route down Tillicum Road also an option.

Travellers faced long lineups on Tuesday morning, which worsened when the Johnson Street Bridge was raised during peak traffic times, prompting people to turn to social media demanding for an alternating-lane system or more restrictions on marine traffic.

ALSO READ: Construction on Victoria’s Bay Street Bridge set to begin

Bellefontaine said traffic options had been carefully considered prior to construction, and that the current method was the most easy to accomplish logistically as well as the most cost effective.

“It’s a very long bridge, so to introduce that alternating traffic you have to stop in one direction and wait for that traffic to clear,” he said. “What that results in is essentially no traffic is moving for a considerable period of time.”

Additionally, hiring flaggers every day for five months would escalate the cost of the large-scale $6.1 million project.

Alternatively, switching between east and west directions at the beginning and end of the day was also explored. However, after analyzing data Bellefontaine said that traffic wasn’t predictably tidal, and that people from both sides of the bridge travelled fairly equally throughout the day.

“It would be very disruptive and very unpredictable for drivers,” Bellefontaine said. “While you could theoretically have very fixed times of the day, in reality as a driver we don’t plan our days that way.”

The City also already has an agreement in place with the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority about avoiding lifting the Johnson Street Bridge between 7 a.m.-9 a.m. and 3 p.m.-5 p.m., but Bellefontaine said sometimes it’s unavoidable.

“There are occasions when that will happen. In a legal sense marine traffic has seniority… But, it’s very rare.”

The traffic pattern will therefore stay as is until construction wraps up in October.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria’s plastic bag ban ended by Supreme Court of Canada

City’s leave to appeal lower court’s decision denied

Victoria man charged after dog killed

Brandon Norman Bartlett, 39, faces one charge of killing or injuring an animal

Royal BC Museum’s Woolly the Mammoth turns 40 years old

The museum is hosting a party on Jan. 26

Sooke boardwalk reopens to public

Downed tree damages structure during last week’s wind storm

James Bay to host third annual Window Wanderland display

Residents are encouraged to get creative with their designs

B.C.-based firefighting plane crashes in Australia, killing three

Three people are confirmed dead in the crash in New South Wales

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

One person in Vancouver being monitored for coronavirus, feds say

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said five or six people are being monitored in Canada

Gap between cost of legal and illegal cannabis keeps growing: Stats Canada

In B.C., legal pot cost $9.32 per gram when bought legally

The word ‘landlord’ is too negative, one B.C. councillor says

Coun. Dave Loewen says term should be replaced by ‘rental housing provider’ in new housing strategy

“Major road failure” shuts down highway in and out of Tofino-Ucluelet

A rock crashed down onto Hwy. 4 early Thursday morning.

Canada prepares as WHO decides whether to declare global coronavirus emergency

The city of Wuhan, China, has shut down outbound flights and trains

Survey finds support among Canadians for broader assisted-dying law

The survey was conducted Jan. 17 to 21 among 1,552 Canadians eligible to vote

Veteran B.C. journalist battles cancer through pioneering immunotherapy treatment

Vancouver Island rallies around JR Rardon and family during stay in Seattle

Most Read