Construction on the $76.8-million Keating Cross Road flyover project could begin as early as this spring as prework for the Pat Bay Highway overpass in Central Saanich nears completion.
In a statement emailed to the Peninsula News Review, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said it’s wrapped up the project’s detailed design phase and is actively tendering the major works contract, which closes March 8.
The ministry also confirmed it’s engaging with landowners to acquire portions of 17 properties in Central Saanich needed to accommodate the construction.
The project will replace the northbound left turn onto Keating Cross Road with a flyover-style overpass, designed to improve road safety along the busy corridor by eliminating the need to turn across traffic and reducing congestion.
Northbound vehicles that want to turn left onto Keating Cross Road currently have to wait until there’s a gap in traffic from two oncoming southbound highway lanes.
In 2021 alone, the intersection between Keating Cross Road and the Pat Bay Highway saw 10 crashes.
Besides the overpass, the project includes the widening of Keating Cross Road, realignment of the southbound on-ramp to Victoria and installation of a sidewalk and bus-on-shoulder facilities to support future rapid transit on the Pat Bay Highway.
Access to the highway via East Saanich Road and Martindale Road will also be permanently closed off once the project is complete.
The estimated price tag of the highway upgrade has jumped from $44.3 million to $76.8 million since it was first announced in 2019. The province is putting up the bulk of its funding – contributing $57.6 million to the project’s total budget, with $16.7 million coming from Ottawa and the rest, $2.5 million, coming from the District of Central Saanich.
Identified as a priority by the South Island Transportation Strategy, the project is expected to improve traffic flow and safety, reduce idling times, relieve existing vehicle congestion and improve access for neighbourhoods and businesses in the area including the Keating Business Park, which supports over 3,000 jobs.
The addition of grade-separated interchanges along Highway 17, including the Keating Cross Road overpass, could improve average travel times and reliability between Swartz Bay and Victoria by as much as nine minutes per trip.
The project is expected to be completed in spring 2025, according to the ministry.
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