The Province released an updated design today for the McKenzie interchange project that includes new details on noise mitigation, environmental enhancements, as well as additional features for cyclists, pedestrians and transit users.
“The McKenzie interchange project continues to move forward as we work to tackle the number-one bottleneck outside the lower mainland,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone. “This project will lower commute times, make travel safer for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers, and improve air quality by getting rid of idling traffic.”
The ministry has included input from stakeholders, including the District of Saanich and other groups, to develop the project in an environmentally responsible way. The plan now includes a detailed environmental strategy to mitigate any impacts from construction, both within the project limits, as well as a comprehensive strategy for Cuthbert Holmes Park. The ministry will add new trees, shrubs and plantings, address storm water with new drainage, and construct a new trail along the north side of the park, with native trees to buffer the highway noise. Once construction is finished, air quality in the area will improve with fewer idling cars.
Details are also now available for the noise mitigation plan, which will include three-metre-high concrete walls along sections of the highway right-of-way. In addition, the raised portions of the Galloping Goose Trail will be used as a sound barrier, and noise will be further reduced by dropping the highway under McKenzie/Admirals. Once construction is finished, noise levels in nearby neighbourhoods along Highway 1 will be noticeably lower.
The designs on display also include details around trail connections to schools and bus stops, as the ministry works to make the new overpass more convenient and safer for pedestrians, cyclists and transit users.
As well, the project team outlined its strategy to minimize travel delays during construction. This includes relocating the Galloping Goose Trail as part of the initial development to keep cyclists and pedestrians at a safe distance from construction activities. Next, the highway on- and off-ramps and new lanes on McKenzie will be built so traffic can use the new lanes while the existing highway is excavated and lowered for the new bridge.
Today’s open house runs until 7:30 p.m. in Saanich at the St. Joseph the Worker Parish Hall, and the ministry will collect online feedback forms until June 10. The project team will also continue to receive feedback from the community and stakeholders with additional meetings.
A backgrounder follows.