With the province kicking in funding for improvements to Hwy. 14, the District of Sooke can see some of the projects which have been on the books for awhile being completed.
“It’s good to see the province contribute to the funding,” said Mayor Maja Tait. “I am annoyed that construction will take place in the summer during our tourist season, let’s hope they get in there and get it completed quickly.”
The district’s goal is to provide safer pedestrian and efficient vehicle traffic movement in the town centre. District residents will soon see improvements on Hwy. 14 thanks to a partnership between the District of Sooke and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (“Ministry”).
In November 2014, the District and Ministry announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding creating a partnership for the construction of a new roundabout at the intersection of Hwy. 14 and Brownsey Boulevard.
The Ministry will provide the project management for the construction project, with tenders expected to be out by March 2015 and work to commence immediately once the project is awarded. The roundabout supports the District’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through reduced vehicle idling and also provides safer pedestrian travel. The roundabout will also encourage the use of alternative transportation such as cycling and walking.
The roundabout is the first phase of major Highway 14 road improvements planned for the District of Sooke. As the design drawing above shows, the District of Sooke will be installing sidewalks (shown in pink) on Highway 14 concurrently with the construction of the roundabout.
The road improvements will include improved transit facilities, sidewalks, marked bicycle lanes, boulevards and crosswalks. The project will also allow for the construction of new turn lanes and medians, improved drainage and re-positioning of some utilities.
Tait said that until this gets resolved, there won’t be any movement in the bottleneck of projects scheduled for Sooke. The district is also looking at an RFP for the sidewalk project and Tait hopes local contractors will bid on the work thereby increasing the jobs in Sooke.
The District will continue to work with the Ministry on further improvements to Highway 14 within the District boundaries.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will Highway 14 be closed to traffic during construction? Will there be a detour?
Highway 14 will not be closed, however, there will be a reduced traffic speed and periodically, single lane traffic during the construction period. The goal is not to completely close Highway 14 for any length of time. If you wish to avoid the road construction, the newly constructed Wadams Way is available as an alternate route.
How will the road construction affect businesses and residences on Highway 14?
Every effort will be made to minimize the affect the road construction will be on businesses and residents on Hwy. 14.
How does a roundabout work? How can large trucks travel through the Town Centre?
Roundabouts have been in use for many years throughout the world and more recently, on Vancouver Island as they encourage continuous traffic movement. Many people have expressed their concern that large trucks (such as logging trucks) will not be able to travel through the town centre. Large trucks will continue to be able to navigate through the roundabout by simply driving (essentially) straight through the roundabout. The medians in the middle of the roundabout are designed in such a way that large vehicles will actually drive over the median.
When will the road construction start?
The Ministry hopes to award the contract for construction in April/May 2015 and the construction should start shortly thereafter. Completion is expected by Fall 2015.
What will the roundabout and sidewalk project cost?
The actual roundabout and sidewalk construction costs are yet to be finalized. The roundabout funding will come from the Gas Tax fund, a grant from ICBC and $300,000 from the Ministry.