As expected, commuter traffic from the West Shore moved frustratingly slow this morning — the first day of several months ahead that the Craigflower bridge will be closed to vehicle traffic while bridge replacement work is underway.
Traffic was bumper to bumper on Craigflower Road between Admirals and Tillicum roads travelling at between 15 and 17 km/h.
As forecast, traffic was also heavier on nearby alternate routes such as Helmcken and Tillicum.
Saanich and View Royal, are jointly undertaking a $15.89-million project to replace the bridge, have been publicizing the closing for months, but many motorists were caught off guard.
Craigflower bridge will be closed to vehicles until the end of December but the crossing will remain open to pedestrians and cyclists.
Both Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard and View Royal Mayor Graham Hill said traffic moved pretty much as expected in light of the closure.
“What surprised me was the number of bicycles that are taking that route. I didn’t realize that many were that early in the morning,” Hill said.
“People have to be careful with the change in traffic patterns and the merging of cyclists. So there needs to be some extra care taken.”
Hill said fine tuning the detours is a “work in process.”
“I think [staff] have done a very good job of connecting to the community and trying to advertise. But clearly there are people who are a little bit confused because they have not been connected to the media or whatever,” Hill said.
Leonard said an overheight vehicle took out an overhead power line while trying to turn around when faced with the closure.
“He was coming down Admirals and there was no way out. So he turned onto Cowper and took out a power line,” Leonard said.
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