Juan de Fuca Electoral Area director Mike Hicks is joining a chorus of local politicians calling for a four-lane solution on Sooke Road from Langford to Sooke.
The idea was first broached by Langford Mayor Stew Young Wednesday after the B.C. Ministry of Transportation announced it was funding a study of Highway 14, and will install an overhead sign to provide information to drivers heading toward Sooke.
“I agree with Stew Young: four-lane it all the way from Langford to Sooke. What’s the point of doing a study?” asked Hicks.
CHM2M Hill has been awarded the $130,000 contract to assess possible future improvements to Highway 14.
The study will review the current condition and performance of the highway, examine potential upgrades for both the short and long term, and examine ways to promote greater transit use and encourage cycling. The study begins this summer. A final report is expected next spring.
Sooke Coun. Rick Kasper said a plan to four-lane the highway has been around for 25 years, created by engineering firm Willis Cunliffe Tait.
He found a dusty copy of those plans on Thursday at Municipal Hall and showed them to reporters.
Kasper isn’t convinced those plans could still be used and more information would be needed to look at four-lane construction today.
He calls the current state of Sooke Road a blessing and a problem.
“First of all there are no traffic lights between Sooke and Langford, but there are other issues and it’s mainly when there are road closures, that’s what people complain about,” he said.
Sooke Mayor Maja Tait called the study timely and adding the last study of this type was completed 15 years ago, and Sooke has grown significantly since then.
Tait said despite the millions of dollars worth of work done on the highway last year there are still difficult sections of the road. She would like to see the province examine lighting, detour routes, line painting, better transit and road widening.
“It’s just a very difficult portion of road because it’s hilly on the one side and a drop on the other. There’s no easy sections there,” she said.
One thing all politicians agree is the need for the digital road sign that will be located near Awsworth Road about 500 metres from the future connection planned with West Shore Parkway. It will give details on such things as road conditions, lane closures and delays.
“The sign will give drivers options and allow you to decide if you want to go home through a detour or maybe stay in Langford a little longer,” Tait said.
“I think it will help. It’s not the end answer. It’s the beginning.”