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Christmas miracle at McKenzie Interchange: TCH could be free-flowing in about a week, says Ministry

A rendering of a completed McKenzie Interchange, looking east towards Uptown Shopping Centre in Saanich. The $96 million project is in its final stages of construction, and if all goes well the Trans Canada Highway will open to free-flowing traffic below the new McKenzie Avenue bridge by Christmas.  Ministry of Transportation

Christmas miracle at McKenzie Interchange: TCH could be free-flowing in about a week, says Ministry
MIKE KOZAKOWSKI, CITIFIED.CA
December 19, 2019 update: The Trans Canada Highway routing below the McKenzie Avenue/Admirals Road overpass opened on the morning of December 19.
 
Work on the McKenzie Interchange project’s Trans Canada Highway (TCH) underpass is ahead of schedule and could open to free flowing traffic later this month, Citified has learned.
 
According to a statement from the Ministry of Transportation, general contractor Pomerleau has indicated construction is progressing at a rapid pace for the new highway alignment, and if all goes well motorists, transit riders and cyclists will have a traffic light-free crossing at McKenzie Avenue and Admirals Road just in time for Christmas.
 
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In recent weeks crews had begun paving a portion of roadway along the highway’s old alignment with a dip below an underpass connecting McKenzie Avenue and Admirals Road. The current highway alignment has traffic flowing along either side of the future alignment.
 
When the underpass opens to traffic, the Trans Canada Highway’s freeway span will extend to just under 12 kilometers between Tillicum Road in Saanich and West Shore Parkway in Langford.
 
Remaining to-dos include finishing highway exits and merge lanes and a single clover leaf exit that will enable McKenzie Avenue-bound motorists to seamlessly merge off the TCH eastbound/southbound and onto McKenzie Avenue northbound. Completion of the latter components will occur in increments between winter and summer 2020.
 
When the project is completed the time savings for motorists will amount to at least 15 minutes during peak periods.
 
The $96 million highway improvement began in September of 2016 and was initially earmarked for completion by mid-2018. Weather-related delays and construction hurdles pushed that target to mid-2020 while the budget rose by $11 million.
 
Meanwhile the provincial and federal governments are investing heavily into south Island roadways with an $86 million improvement to Highway 14 east and west of Sooke’s town centre. Starting construction next summer, workers will expand roughly 1.5 kilometers of two lane highway into a four lane span in the 17 Mile Pub area, and 11 kilometers of shoulder improvements west of Sooke will widen the highway between Otter Point Road and Woodhaven Road (near French Beach Provincial Park).
 
Construction is also progressing along the TCH west of Leigh Road as part of a highway widening project that will expand the lanes from three to four and see the installation of medians between the Leigh Road interchange and West Shore Parkway.
 
And earlier this week the Ministry released a report into a potential Malahat detour project that was touted as a temporary solution during periods of highway closures, which have occurred at a frequency of about 40 in excess of 30 minutes in the span of a decade. However, the decision has been made to continue improving the existing highway in lieu of investing into a detour. C
 

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