Highway 1 gridlocked in Friday morning commute due to signal problem at McKenzie

An electrical fault with newly installed traffic signals on the McKenzie bridge, which opened to vehicles early Friday, led to gridlock for motorists during their morning commute.

The signals were activated about 4:45 a.m. when traffic moved to the new bridge, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said in a statement.

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They had been tested in advance, but an unexpected electrical issue kept the lights out until 7:30 a.m.

The ministry apologized for the inconvenience to commuters and said it monitored the intersection throughout the day.

The bridge is the new McKenzie Avenue/Admirals Road. It runs parallel to the old McKenzie Avenue/Admirals Road. Highway 1 will be dug underneath the bridge.

Traffic-signal timing has been tested over the past week and will continue to be monitored and adjusted as needed to keep traffic moving, the ministry said.

Putting the bridge into service will allow the contractor to finish excavation and construction of a re-routed Highway 1. Traffic will be free-flowing on Highway 1 this winter, the ministry said.

Project completion is scheduled for the summer of 2020.

Construction of the interchange was originally scheduled to be completed in 2018 at a cost of $85 million.

Work was delayed by efforts to reduce construction noise and improve traffic flow, a snow-heavy 2018-19 winter and unexpected rock formations that forced design changes.

The cost has increased by at least $11 million.

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