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Pat Bay drivers warned of Keating overpass detour traffic as school returns

Police, other measures will remind drivers to use caution in school zones
This image shows traffic northbound on Highway 17 turning west onto Keating Cross Road across the southbound lanes on Highway 17. As school restarts, the province is asking for drivers to prepare for traffic congestion around the construction of the coming flyover overpass. (Screencap/Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)

With school restarting next week, the province is advising people to plan for high traffic volumes expected around the Keating Cross Road construction on Highway 17.

As work continues on the flyover overpass project, the province on Tuesday (Aug. 29) said traffic congestion is expected along the detour near Keating Elementary School during child dropoff and pickup periods.

“Traffic-control personnel, additional signage and an increased police presence will be in the area to remind people to drive with caution while travelling through school zones,” the transportation ministry said in a release. “People dropping off or picking up children should plan their journeys with extra time to account for delays.”

The province is also advising, if possible, that people consider leaving earlier in the morning or later in the evening when traffic is expected to lighten. The province or the District of Central Saanich will be monitoring traffic and could take further measures around controlling congestion or improving safety, the release said.

Construction started earlier this summer on the overpass project that will nix the left turn northbound drivers must make across the busy highway lanes. Work to this point has mainly included utility relocations, while pile-driving activities are set to begin in September and run through November.

Construction is set to run until spring 2025 as the transportation ministry said the flyover will improve safety and provide better access for businesses and communities in the area. The project will also realign the southbound on-ramp to Victoria and close Highway 17 access at East Saanich Road and Martindale Road.

Speed readers are also planned for either side of Keating Elementary as part of the project.

Overnight construction planned to last until next summer aims to reduce daytime traffic disruptions. The province recognized that work causes additional noise and light during those hours and said the patience of residents is appreciated.

The project is budgeted to cost $76.8 million, with $57.6 million coming from the province, $16.7 million from the federal government and $2.5 million from the District of Central Saanich.

Around 52,000 vehicles drive through the area on average per day, with over 4,000 traversing the stretch per hour at peak times.

READ: Minister launches Keating overpass in Central Saanich to improve safety

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