McKenzie Interchange 'big dig' now underway as the $85 million project moves towards summer opening
Published January 31, 2019
As the McKenzie Interchange project inches ever closer to its summer opening date, workers are making progress on the “big dig” portion of the $85 million Trans Canada Highway improvement, according to the Ministry of Transportation.
Motorists and travellers passing through one of B.C.’s most congested intersections – the nexus of the Trans Canada Highway, McKenzie Avenue and Admirals Road near the Saanich and View Royal border – will see big changes in the coming weeks as crews continue to excavate the path of new highway lanes that will flow below the route's existing grade in order to make way for the McKenzie Avenue and Admirals Road overpass.
“Right now, work is centred around the ‘big dig,’” reads a statement supplied by the Ministry of Transportation to Citified. “This includes excavation work during the evening to remove material where the future highway (Highway 1) will be located, [while] pile driving has also started where the future centre pier of the underpass will be located.”
And in addition to the giant excavation the next major step, the Ministry says, will focus on the erection of girders along the underpass.
|A site-plan of the $85 million McKenzie Interchange project. Ministry of Transportation. |
One of the most noticeable and highly visible tasks to be undertaken is the installation of sound walls, or large fence-like panels between the highway and adjacent properties or roadways, which dampen the noise of highway traffic and provide a visual barrier for nearby residents. Crews are currently focused on installing sound walls along the Portage Inlet frontage of the Trans Canada Highway.
The Ministry estimates commuters will see significant reductions in travel times once the interchange improvements are open to traffic, a major relief for residents destined to and from the region’s Westshore and communities further north.
“Fixing this bottleneck area along Highway 1 will save drivers an estimated 20 minutes in each direction, allowing families to spend more time together and less time stuck in traffic,” the Ministry says.
Originally planned to open in the summer of 2018 following a late fall of 2016 start, project completion was pushed back by over a year
due to weather-related construction delays and efforts to mitigate construction disruptions to nearby residential communities. The 2016 budget of $85 million remains in place.
Although the interchange is expected to open to traffic by late summer of this year, formal completion won’t be for several months thereafter.
With the addition of the McKenzie Interchange to Victoria’s highway infrastructure, the Capital’s freeway segment (with no controlled intersections) of the Trans Canada Highway will expand by one kilometre to nearly 12 kilometres as measured between the Tillicum Road and Westshore Parkway intersections. C
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