It’s official; let there be no light.
A day after confirming the possibility, depending on weather, the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced Wednesday that vehicle traffic would be free-flowing on the Trans-Canada Highway at the McKenzie Interchange beginning Thursday, Dec. 19.
Northbound and southbound drivers will be able to use the new highway alignment under the bridge at McKenzie Avenue and Admirals Road, eliminating the wait for traffic lights to change as is the case on the existing configuration. Southbound drivers will stay in the left lanes and remain on the highway, while drivers accessing McKenzie Avenue and Admirals Road will exit to the right. The new configuration is the same as the existing one at Helmcken Road, and will remain in place until the loop ramp is completed in 2020.
The traffic signal timing was tested throughout last week, and will be monitored at the interchange and neighbouring intersections and adjusted to ensure traffic moves as efficiently as possible. Construction zone speed limits will remain in effect through the project site, including Highway 1, and drivers should obey all signage and posted speed limits.
B.C.’s Minister of Transporation and Infrastructure, Claire Trevena, called the removal of the traffic lights a major step in the project, and great news for the thousands of people who rely on Highway 1 each day. “There is still a lot of construction left to do, and I thank drivers, transit users, cyclists and area residents for their patience as the we work to complete this important project.”
While the new alignment may result in a reduction in travel time, the full estimated savings in travel time will not be realized until the project is completed. It is anticipated that the entire project, including the McKenzie exit loop ramp, the northbound two-lane on-ramp from McKenzie, new multi-use overpass, bus lanes, transit facilities and landscaping will be completed by the summer of 2021.
The total estimated cost is $96 million, with the Federal Government funding $32.6 under the New Building Canada Fund’s Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component – National and Regional Projects. The B.C. Government is funding the remaining $63.35 million.