Driving through one notoriously dangerous Saanich intersection will hopefully be safer from now on, now that a $3-million safety upgrade to the Pat Bay Highway at Sayward Road is complete.
The Ministry of Transportation moved to improve safety and ease congestion at the intersection near Elk Lake last year, which has seen more than 340 crashes since 2007.
Northbound acceleration and deceleration lanes were built, allowing traffic to ease on and off the highway.
The northbound bus stop was moved to a new pullout south of the intersection, and a transit priority queue lane was installed to give buses priority heading north.
A flashing congestion sign was also installed south of Cordova Bay Road last summer.
When the upgrades were announced in August 2012, the Ministry of Transportation said it would continue to monitor safety at the intersection, and would consider solutions like an interchange, if need be.
At the time Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard said the message he’s hearing is residents don’t want an interchange.
“The mayors on the (Saanich) peninsula have gone to the interchange idea, and our community really doesn’t want that here. So (transportation) ministers have used that divided voice to say, ‘We won’t do anything until you folks make up your minds.’ Fortunately the safety issue trumped everything,” he said.
The new lanes are expected to be open Thursday afternoon.