McKenzie interchange plan down to two options

 

The province has ditched one of three options for the $85-million McKenzie interchange project at the Trans-Canada Highway and added an extra lane at Burnside Road to address the most serious shortcoming in previous designs.

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Both remaining options — partial cloverleaf and diamond-shaped — have the Trans-Canada Highway running under the interchange at McKenzie/Admirals. The dropped option had a diamond-shaped interchange with the Trans-Canada running over it, B.C. Ministry of Transportation district manager Janelle Erwin said Wednesday at an open house at St. Joseph the Worker Parish Hall attended by 330 people.

Whichever option is chosen will have a pedestrian overpass for the Galloping Goose Trail, which puts to rest fears by cyclists and walkers that there might be a tunnel.

Most feedback centred around the need for McKenzie and Burnside to be included as part of the the project. “And I think our team has come back with a really excellent solution to help address those concerns and really make that flow better,” Erwin said.

The extra southbound lane on McKenzie through the Burnside intersection will head west onto the Trans-Canada. It will be combined with a dual right turn to the highway westbound to “significantly reduce southbound queues on McKenzie,” said a provincial document, adding it should reduce cars lining up on Burnside and address shortcuts through neighbourhood roads by attracting vehicles to the interchange. Currently, some Burnside residents cannot get out of their driveways when the “Colwood Crawl” clogs municipal roadways.

The interchange is aimed at unblocking Vancouver Island’s biggest traffic bottleneck — an average of 80,000 vehicles daily on the Trans-Canada west of McKenzie — as well as improving conditions for B.C. Transit passengers, cyclists and pedestrians.

Comments were collected in more than 1,000 feedback forms and 130 emails submitted to the ministry after its November open house. Changes were pronounced to be “well done,” by resident Merv Walker, who lives near the proposed interchange.

Gorge Tillicum Community Association president Ron Wickson is not keen on any option and has created his own plan, which, he said, reduces traffic signal delays. He brought printouts of his plan to the open house.

Colwood resident Jack Law said the cloverleaf was his preference. He no longer has to worry about the crawl since retiring, but “I think of other people who have to put up with it.”

More work should be done on Burnside, which, he said, should have a bridge to eliminate the need for several traffic signals.

The partial cloverleaf option received the most support in the feedback. The ministry dropped the third option due to concerns about noise, visual impact, scheduling and cost. Intrusions made into greenspace at Cuthbert Holmes Park by either option will be replaced by Ministry of Transportation rights of way, Erwin said.

Concerns about a steep incline to the pedestrian overpass have been addressed.

The gradual grade to the bridge will be no more than four per cent, and the overpass will be shifted slightly to the north so it’s not as close to the highway, Erwin said.

B.C. Transit senior planner James Wadsworth said bus stops for the interchange will be no farther apart than they are currently.

The refinements are not expected to add any project costs. B.C. is paying $52.4 million and Ottawa $32.6 million.

Feedback is invited until March 18.

kdedyna@timescolonist.com

 

> B.C. government website: engage.gov.bc.ca/mckenzieinterchange

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