It will be stop and go traffic along McKenzie Avenue this summer as Saanich upgrades the traffic signals at the intersection with Quadra Street.
Work is expected to start Monday as Saanich crews replace the aging traffic signal poles and improve the pedestrian controls and a nearby bus shelter.
“Our schedule anticipates completing major construction before the Labour Day long weekend so we can take advantage of the summer months when we have lower traffic volumes,” said Saanich director of engineering Harley Machielse.
The project will also adjust the timing of the traffic signals to bring them more in synch with others along the McKenzie corridor.
“Much of the co-ordination has already taken place,” said Machielse. “Whether it’s Borden, Nelthorpe, Quadra, all the way to Blenkinsop – work has happened earlier this year to co-ordinate those signals. We’ll be looking to expand that co-ordination to include areas of McKenzie at Shelbourne and Cedar Hill, and Larchwood and Gordon Head, by the end of the year.”
He said the lights will be co-ordinated to accommodate eastbound traffic in the morning, and vehicles heading west in the afternoon, smoothing the commute for those heading to and from the University of Victoria. He said the pedestrian crossing times at Quadra might be slightly shortened, while more dedication (longer green lights) is being given to traffic on McKenzie.
The project will bring delays to those travelling along McKenzie as well as Quadra over the summer.
“The crews will be working primarily outside the peak traffic volume times. So we’ll be trying to work between midday or very early morning or sometimes into the evening to avoid the morning and afternoon rush,” said Machielse.
He said changeable message boards will be displayed on all four legs of the intersection, advising drivers of the different traffic impacts as the project advances.
The project will strengthen the arms on the base for traffic signals, which were found to be over capacity from the number of signals and signs that have been added over time. Crews will also expand a couple corners of the intersection to improve the waiting areas for pedestrians as well as upgrade the bus stop on the eastbound leg of McKenzie.
“The sidewalk [at the eastbound bus stop] is quite narrow. We’ll be expanding that sidewalk and putting in a new shelter,” said Machielse. “It’s an infrastructure replacement project for one of our busiest, or our busiest intersection in Saanich.”
A recent online survey by the Saanich News found that 9.3 per cent of respondents rated McKenzie and Quadra as the worst area for traffic congestion in Saanich.