An intersection that has long frustrated Saanich drivers will soon offer them a new turn.
Raylec Power – a Vancouver Island-based company specializing in electrical infrastructure – will install an advanced green light for drivers turning left off Haliburton Road onto the Pat Bay Highway.
Danielle Pope, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, said plans call for construction to start in late October or early November.
“It will take the ministry’s electrical maintenance contractor, Raylec, approximately one week to complete the work and then activate the signal,” she said. “Any traffic advisories will be communicated in advance on www.DriveBC.ca.”
Haliburton Road is one of only a handful of roads that connects the Cordova Bay neighbourhood with the highway and has been the source of much frustration for area residents.
The central geographic feature of the neighbourhood is a north-south running ridge that dips down towards the highway on its western flank and down towards the Pacific Ocean on the eastern flank. While Haliburton Road winds its way up the eastern flank, it runs straight down the western flank towards the highway, with smaller roads feeding traffic onto it.
While rural in many parts, the region has experienced population growth in recent years with more to come, thereby adding to the traffic that local destination points like Claremont secondary school generate.
During both the morning and evening rush hour, vehicle traffic gets “dangerous and congested,” especially on Haliburton Road between Wesley Road and the Pat Bay Highway, said Karla Krane, a Helvetia Crescent resident, during a recent presentation before council.
Traffic heading onto the highway backs up on Haliburton Road to the point that it could take drivers multiple lights until they are able to turn left onto the highway, said Krane.
“Frustrated drivers often turn left onto the highway, even after the light has turned red,” she said.
Traffic backing up on Haliburton Road also has effects elsewhere, she said.
When parents are heading down Haliburton Road towards the highway after dropping off their children at Claremont, joining others who are driving to work, it can become nearly impossible for vehicles turning right onto Halliburton from Del Monte, said Krane.
Saanich has been lobbying for the improvement for some time.
“It has been there [the issue] for a long time and they [the ministry] have been concerned, we have been concerned,” said Coun. Leif Wergeland earlier this year. “It looks like it is going to happen.”
Under the pending arrangement, drivers turning left onto the highway from Haliburton Road will get to turn ahead of drivers heading up Haliburton, said Wergeland.
“That should make a difference,” he said.