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Speeders, utilities among challenges during Pat Bay overpass construction

Crosswalk, signage added to combat traffic woes during flyover build
The project to add a flyover at Keating Cross Road and the Pat Bay Highway in Central Saanich is on time and budget according to the Ministry of Transportation. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)

The new overpass project at Keating Cross Road and Highway 17 is on time and budget, but not without its challenges, according to the Ministry of Transportation.

The $54.5-million contract was awarded to FlatIron Constructors Canada Ltd. this spring followed promptly with the start of construction.

The project will see the northbound turn lane onto Keating Cross Road replaced with a flyover overpass from Highway 17. Other work will also include installing a new sidewalk on Keating Cross Road, widening Keating Cross Road and the highway, realigning the southbound on-ramp, and closing the Highway 17 access at East Saanich and Martindale roads.

The ministry said traffic management is functioning well, but concerns have included trucks and tour buses on non-truck routes, speeding, pedestrian and cyclist safety and increased traffic on detour routes, the ministry said in a written statement to the Peninsula News Review.

RELATED: Overpass construction to bring closures to Saanich Peninsula’s main route

The ministry, District of Central Saanich and the contractor are tackling those issues including enhanced enforcement with provincial Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement, RCMP and local police; revised and added signage including “share the road” signs on Central Saanich and Tanner roads; and increased communications with truck and tour companies.

They’ve also implemented traffic changes including prohibiting parking on the west side of Central Saanich Road from near Adam Kerr to Tanner and a new temporary crosswalk on Tanner Road.

“The ministry undertakes rigorous reviews to mitigate challenges during construction, which can be expected in any infrastructure project of this nature. One aspect of the project that has added complications is the extensive utility relocations. The ministry, contractor and utility providers have undertaken this work while limiting impacts to traffic and disruptions to services like power, water, sewer and telecommunications,” the ministry statement reads.

RELATED: $54.5-million contract awarded, construction to start on Keating overpass

The overpass project aims to provide safety improvements for commuters on the south Island – more than 52,000 people drive through the area daily – allowing vehicles to travel more safely and efficiently, lowering commute times and promoting regional economic growth.

ICBC crash data shows the prior configuration of the intersection had 20 crashes resulting in injury or death between 2018 and 2022. Another 25 resulted in property damage only.

The entire 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.

Construction is expected to finish in spring 2025.

Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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