The $85-million road project to improve Highway 14 near Sooke has been pushed back several months and is not expected to be completed until next spring.
Despite the delay, the government has not explained why the project was pushed back from its original fall completion date.
In a statement to Black Press Media, the Transportation and Infrastructure Ministry expects the project to be “substantially complete” by spring 2023. Earlier, the ministry said the project would be “substantially complete” by fall 2022.
Black Press could not obtain a direct response from the ministry to the question about the project delays. In a follow-up email, the ministry stated that “the Highway 14 project is progressing well,” with “significant milestones” accomplished.
The Connie Road to Glinz Lake Road section of the highway is described as a “complex project with numerous construction items underway” by the ministry. However, the expansion of the 1.4-kilometre road section to four paved lanes is expected to be complete this month, with the remaining project work continuing over the winter and spring.
The continuing work will include constructing a new park-and-ride area with eight electric vehicle chargers, adding B.C. Transit bus pullouts to avoid slowing down traffic, installing overhead lighting, and building safer access from Highway 14 to Gillespie Road.
Despite the delays, the ministry says the project is on budget.
Sooke Mayor Maja Tait said that while she would always prefer to see projects like this completed sooner rather than later, she understands there can be delays.
“Everything sadly takes longer than we want it to, and the costs escalate and the like,” said Tait. “As you drive through it, you can certainly see that the work is progressing, and we are aware that unforeseen circumstances sometimes showed up that led to delays.”
She said she would be excited to see it complete, and while there have been complaints, residents generally understand the project is taking time to complete.
Ken Whitaker, the managing partner of the 17 Mile Pub, said his business had been impacted by the construction surrounding it, but overall the impact has been less than he anticipated.
“It will be nice when they get it done, but I’m not sure how far away they are,” Whitaker said. “Obviously, I would have liked it to be finished sooner, but I don’t have any control over it.”