Sooke Mayor Maja Tait and B.C. government representative Comox Valley MLA Don McRae with the ceremonial first dig at the location of the new roundabout on Sooke Road. Work on the project begins next week.

Work to begin on roundabout

$9.1 million-project will see major reconstruction of Sooke Road from Otter Point to Church roads

Construction of the controversial Sooke roundabout will begin next week, says district officials.

The District of Sooke is contributing $3.1 million for the roundabout, which fuses Sooke Road, Brownsey Boulevard and the Evergreen Centre entrance into one loop, which is wide and big enough to accommodate anything from a loaded logging truck to your grandpa’s Lincoln.

But there’s more on Sooke’s infrastructure menu.

The province takes care of the rest with an additional $6 million for a complete revamp of Sooke Road between Otter Point and Church roads. That includes new sidewalks, crosswalks, lighting, curbs, new shoulder bike lane and new bus shelters. All that in total, to the tune of $9.1 million-worth of work.

Otter Point and Sooke Road will also gain an extra right turn lane along with a sidewalk – which right now is a daily frustration for many drivers who get backed up because they’re waiting for someone in front to turn right.

But all that is about to change.

“This is a very exciting moment here in Sooke, and what has been the combined efforts of council, staff and the community since incorporation,” said Mayor Maja Tait at the launch of the project Monday.

“Creating a vibrant town centre that is welcome, accessible and safe for residents, visitors and future generations by car, bike, or on foot has been a priority spanning several councils.”

Tait said the roundabout is being built without any extra taxpayer’s expense.

“All this work will be achieved without any increase in municipal taxes,” she said. “This brings us to this moment where we break ground and realize Sooke’s awesome potential.”

To reach that potential, however, it’ll take time, which is why Tait hopes Sooke residents and business owners will be patient throughout the duration of the construction, which is expected to finish this fall.

The building contractor of the roundabout and the rest of project, Island Asphalt (also known as O.K Industries) will also be distributing roadworks signs around town, with notices for detours via Wadams Way.

Despite the detours though, Mike Pearson, district engineer and operations manager for B.C. Transportation, said Highway 14 will remain open to traffic, with some single-lane closures from time to time.

He added that crews will be working simultaneously on a variety of tasks, such as hydro, roadworks, road having and grading construction work.