While Central Saanich is celebrating the federal government’s allocation of funds for a Keating Cross Road flyover, the project has taken decades to get to the design stage.
On Monday the federal government announced more than $16 million towards the estimated $44 million-dollar project, which will serve northbound traffic crossing the highway, preventing the backlog of cars in the turning lane for Keating Cross Road.
But as it is currently planned, the flyover won’t alleviate truck traffic heading towards the Keating Industrial area, much of which currently takes routes through residential areas and past Keating Elementary School – traffic that some say could be reduced or eliminated by a full-service interchange.
“We try to designate the most appropriate truck route,” said Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor. “We monitor that area for speed. A truck going by a school is not ideal but it can be managed.
“This [flyover] is not going to solve all the issues as maybe a full movement interchange might, but that is a much much bigger project,” Windsor added. “The safety issue we’re try to address is the left turn.”
According to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the flyover was chosen “to meet the highest priority need of traffic travelling to and from the south.”
“The new flyover will eliminate the left turn across highway traffic, improve access for businesses and neighbourhoods in the Keating area, and make the highway safer for everyone who uses it,” MOTI stated in an email.
The province added that its analysis of roads in the area showed that traffic to and from the south will continue to be served by the current Island View traffic signal.
“The ministry will continue to monitor traffic and growth along the corridor and will plan for future infrastructure to maintain the safety of the corridor while promoting mobility.”
MOTI is yet to obtain any property specific to the project but is proceeding with further detailed engineering work and public consultation to confirm its “exact design and footprint.”
“It is expected that there will be some impacts to local property owners,” MOTI stated. “Those owners who are potentially affected will be contacted by the ministry as soon as the impacts are defined.”
Windsor acknowledged that while the project hasn’t been a top priority throughout Central Saanich history, it has been around the top of the list for his government for a long time.
“In my time we’ve been moving in this direction and we’re here now,” he said.