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Bus queue jump lanes added in Saanich Peninsula

The lanes start before the intersection of Highway 17 and Mount Newton Cross Road
Bus jumping lanes at the intersection of Highway 17 and Mount Newton Cross Road, here seen during their construction in late spring 2022, are now ready to use, the province announced Dec. 29. (Black Press Media file photo)

New so-called bus queue jump lanes promise to improve public transit along a stretch of the Saanich Peninsula.

The lanes starting before the intersection of Highway 17 and Mount Newton Cross Road allow transit buses to bypass congestion as they approach the intersection. The lanes then continue after the intersection, allowing buses merge into traffic.

The lanes come with new bus shelters at the intersection with its cluster of fuel stations and food outlets on the eastern side of the highway. The area is also undergoing increased densification with new residential projects underway in the northeast corner of the intersection.

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A release announcing that the lanes are now ready to use also highlights improved safety and sight lines thanks to the rebuilding of traffic islands and the addition new signals, signs, road markings, as well as new sidewalks.

Costs total $7.6 million.

Rob Fleming, minister of transportation and infrastructure, said in a release that the improvements will speed up travel through the Saanich Peninsula on their way to downtown Victoria or the ferry terminal at Swartz Bay.

“The Pat Bay Highway is an important and heavily used transportation corridor on the south island and I’m pleased that transit users will benefit from this project,” he said.

Erinn Pinkerton, president and chief executive officer of BC Transit, said these lanes will help reduce the number of cars on the road, thereby easing traffic congestion and making nearby neighbourhoods more accessible.

“We’re always looking for ways to encourage more people to choose public transit and better connect communities,” said Pinkerton.

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