Letters to the Editor

Just move an existing overpass

Re:  Proposed pedestrian overpass — Beacon Avenue at Highway 17.

I have been following council meeting minutes and news releases and editorials in the Peninsula News Review and offer some suggestions for your consideration.

I am pleased that the Town of Sidney and partners are moving ahead with this much needed project. However, with the high cost, which I understand could now be as high as $3.5 million, I wonder if other less expensive options have been thoroughly explored.

Some years ago pedestrian safety became an issue at the intersection of Wain Road at Highway 17. Subsequently a modern pedestrian overpass was constructed at that location.  A few years later the provincial highways department constructed a full interchange for vehicular traffic only feet away from the pedestrian overpass. This new interchange and overpass also incorporated into their design and construction, safe, wide, bicycle lanes and sidewalks which connected with bicycle lanes on both Wain Road and McDonald Park Road.

The stand alone pedestrian overpass is very rarely used as pedestrians and cyclists use the new overpass which provides easier access, a shorter route both ways and connects directly with new bicycle lanes on Wain Road and McDonald Park. There is now an unnecessary, and rarely used pedestrian overpass sitting at the Wain Road and Highway 17 intersection. It is a new structure meeting all earthquake standards and has a span that would easily cross the Highway 17 intersection at Beacon Avenue.

So my suggestion is that all partners involved in this project explore a much cheaper option by constructing the required concrete abutments at Beacon and the highway and lifting the pedestrian span and the ramps and move them south and place them on the new abutments to where they are now needed.

I am sure this would be a big saving to all tax payers concerned and at much less cost would provide both locations with the safe pedestrian highway crossing.

Tom McColm, North Saanich

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