The Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce calls for revisions to a major infrastructure project in Central Saanich.
While the chamber called the flyover overpass proposed for the intersection of Keating Cross Road and Highway 17 a “welcome addition” to the local area, the organization says the proposal fails to address the “bottleneck and safety liability” presented by southbound traffic.
The letter acknowledges that the project (in its current form) would eliminate the dangerous left turn across Highway 17 onto Keating Cross Road westbound but finds it insufficient.
“Currently, vehicles travelling southbound on Highway 17 toward Keating Cross Road must exit on Island View Road and connect to Keating via Saanich Crossing Road and Central Saanich Road,” reads the letter. “Not only is this a major bottleneck to traffic, but this traffic pattern dangerously directs drivers past Keating Elementary School.”
Specifically, the chamber calls for a full movement interchange. “The Keating Cross Road flyover project represents a great opportunity to ease the flow of traffic that limits the growth of local businesses,” it reads. “We strongly recommend that the project should be expanded to include the southbound Highway t7 traffic with the addition of a grade separated, full movement interchange, as this will support local businesses and allow for a strong resilient economy, while ensuring safety for local families and motorists alike.”
With this letter, the chamber joins a chorus of critics, from Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria to the signatories of a petition calling for improvements to the project.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said in a statement last month that the proposed flyover overpass represents the “safest option” for the location. “The Keating interchange options were developed, evaluated, and refined through a collaborative process with the District of Central Saanich.”
The statement also responded to charges the flyover overpass would continue to funnel northbound traffic past Keating Elementary School.
“The new sidewalks on Keating Cross Road will make it safer for children to get to Keating Elementary School,” it reads. It adds the ministry and the municipality are exploring other opportunities as part of the project in and around the school. “The ministry and the District of Central Saanich are also examining traffic control solutions during construction to limit disturbance and ensure safety.”
Final costs for the project remain undetermined. The federal government has committed $16.71 million with Central Saanich contributing $2.5 million. The provincial government is still determining its share of the cost.
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