The Bear Mountain Parkway extension opened Tuesday evening with a line of hot rods leading the charge up the mountain.
“This is the biggest project we’ve ever done in the city’s history,” said Langford Mayor Stew Young referencing the entire roadway and the Leigh Road interchange, which combined came with a roughly $50-million price tag.
Once referred to as the bridge and the road to nowhere, this project gives residents on Skirt Mountain and visitors a new access that will allow them to bypass Millstream Road.
“We’ve had some problems along the way but we solved them,” Young said. “One of the biggest pushes for this was from our fire department … It’s going to save lives.”
The Bear Mountain Parkway completion project features a roughly 3.5 kilometre stretch of new roadway, with underground infrastructure, that connects the Leigh Road interchange to the existing Bear Mountain Parkway at the Country Club Way roundabout. Crews began work in October 2016.
This is the last major road connection north of the Trans-Canada Highway in Langford.
Pedestrians can access this new roadway using a combination of new sidewalks in developed areas and a packed gravel trail in the undeveloped residential areas along the road.
“I can’t say enough about the people that were involved,” said Coun. Lillian Szpak. She added that she went for a walk along the roadway last weekend and couldn’t believe how hard crews were working to finish the project for the opening. Workers were on their hands and knees in the rain, installing the last of the landscaping while smiling, she said.
“It ties together so many projects,” Szpak added.
“It was a very complex partnership in bringing this to fruition and it really speaks to our partnerships.”
The extension project cost $10.5 million and was shared by five developers with the City of Langford lending some of the funds on the promise that the loan will be repaid.
“This is a project that’s had so many people behind it,” Young said. “You have to be passionate about your community to get this done.”
Eighteen contractors who have worked on the projects to help build Langford during the past 25 years were recognized, along with others that were instrumental from day one, at a reception following the road opening at the Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort to celebrate 25 years of constructing Langford.
Premier John Horgan was also in attendance at the event along with roughly 200 others.
“I’m always honoured to say I’m from Langford,” Horgan said.
“Stew and council have been able to juggle a few balls … everywhere you look young families are putting down their roots.”
On the other side of the Leigh Road overpass, crews are working to extend that roadway over the railway tracks to connect to Langford Parkway.
This project is under construction and is expected to be completed later this summer.
Improvements are also underway on the Millstream Road overpass.
This project is expected to be completed by the end of the month or in early May.