This image shows northbound traffic on Highway 17 looking to turn west onto Keating Cross Road (far right top corner), crossing the southbound lane on Highway 17. A new “flyover” overpass promises to ease delays and improve safety. (Screencap/Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)

This image shows northbound traffic on Highway 17 looking to turn west onto Keating Cross Road (far right top corner), crossing the southbound lane on Highway 17. A new “flyover” overpass promises to ease delays and improve safety. (Screencap/Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)

Flyover proposed for Central Saanich ‘safest option’ according to ministry

Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria calls for full movement interchange

A statement from the provincial ministry of transportation and infrastructure defends the “flyover” overpass proposed for the intersection of Keating Cross Road and Highway 17.

The statement rebukes criticism from Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria, which has denounced the proposed infrastructure as “half a solution” in calling for a “full movement interchange” with the group arguing that such an interchange would be more beneficial to the local economy while improving traffic safety.

This argument draws on portions of a planning report from 2017 that identify such a full movement interchange as the preferred option of Central Saanich and Highway 17 Joint Peninsula Taskforce.

The ministry’s statement does not directly address the PNR question of who ruled out that option and on which grounds, but points to internal ministry deliberations.

“It was concluded that the current flyover overpass arrangement was the safest option for this location,” reads the statement. “The Keating interchange options were developed, evaluated, and refined through a collaborative process with the District of Central Saanich.”

The ministry’s statement said the flyover is receiving priority because of the potential for high-speed head-on crashes at the uncontrolled left turn onto Keating Cross Road as well as at the similar East Saanich Road left turn exit just to the north. “Safety at these locations will be significantly improved with the Keating flyover,” it reads.

RELATED: Advocacy group calls for full interchange at Central Saanich’s Keating Cross Road

The statement also responds 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.”

The statement also says the project will widen Keating Cross Road and make it safer for pedestrians. “In addition, the project team is exploring the possibility of a connection between Lochside Trail and Central Saanich to make active transportation easier and more accessible for people.”

Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria had argued a full movement interchange would improve connectivity between parts of Central Saanich divided by Highway 17.

The ministry’s statement did not respond to the question of how much a full movement interchange would currently cost (the 2017 planning report contains figures, but are likely outdated) and repeats the previous statement that the provincial government would finalize its share of the project after having reviewed the business case.

The federal government has committed $16.71 million with Central Saanich contributing $2.5 million.

To learn more about the proposed improvements and submit feedback, visit https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/0fc8cf9c819d4acebf87079e60b8f09b.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

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wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

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