A vehicle waits at the Northfield and old Island Highway intersection. (News Bulletin file)

A vehicle waits at the Northfield and old Island Highway intersection. (News Bulletin file)

Construction to begin next week on Northfield intersection

Project to be completed by end of year

After years of delays, construction is set to begin on an high-profile intersection in Nanaimo.

Construction on upgrades to the Northfield Road-Boundary Avenue-Highway 19A intersection — the eastern edge of a route linking the old highway to the Nanaimo Parkway, and long considered among the city’s most problematic junctions — will begin on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

As a result, motorists should expect traffic disruptions, delays and detours and access to Northfield from Highway 19A will be closed periodically during construction.

Construction will be completed in phases with work on the old Island Highway expected to be completed by June 30. Improvements on the Northfield Road and Boundary Avenue portion of the intersection are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The project has been in the works for years. Construction was originally expected to start in 2014, but was halted that year when costs rose $800,000 higher than expected, to $2.9 million. In 2015, then-transportation minister Todd Stone announced an increased provincial funding commitment. In 2016, city council paused the project again to see what might happen with passenger rail service, then, in 2017, council re-committed to moving ahead with the intersection fix.

The project is expected to cost $4.18 million, with funds coming from both the city and province.