Replacing the Craigflower Bridge is a project that had to be done, but after just over a year of closure, drivers and businesses have to be excited about the reopening late last week.
Commuters fumed through multiple delays during construction as First Nations human remains were discovered, then a design flaw sent architects back to the drawing board and a metal shortage postponed construction.
Through it all, commuters detoured, carpooled, cycled and bused their way around the gap.
And now, everyone’s happy.
Admirals Road, from Island Highway in View Royal to Gorge Road in Saanich is open to travel after the Craigflower Bridge work finished to little fanfare. Though View Royal’s pre-party celebrating the wider boardwalk-like walkway across the bridge, which was opened a couple of weeks ago, was well attended the weekend before.
Happier than the commuters are the businesses surrounding the bridge, those whose connection to the community was severed for much longer than planned.
They’ve suffered a double-, or triple-whammy that started the summer of 2009 when Saanich spent three months rebuilding Admirals Bridge. That forced thousands of drivers to find a new route into Victoria, Esquimalt and Dockyard.
The following year, View Royal began its Island Highway Improvement Project – a solid year of commuter gridlock as roadwork pushed hundreds of cars each morning onto the Trans-Canada Highway.
Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard posted on Facebook last week there was no ceremony planned for the official opening, “just a sigh of relief as commuters get access the minute the contractor is done.”
Any political machinations relating to the project aside, the bottom line is it’s open and area businesses, residents and commuters can move forward.
So everyone’s happy, but that won’t last long.
That McKenzie interchange is next on the list of major upgrades needed in the municipality. Let’s just hope this one goes smoother.