The east-bound lane of Bay Street Bridge will remain closed until October (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

City says traffic pattern on Bay Street Bridge will stay as is until October

Commuters began facing long waits on Tuesday morning after the east-bound lane was closed

The first week of construction on the Point Ellice Bridge is going as planned, says city staff.

Commuters have faced massive congestion following the closure of the east-bound lane of the bridge on Bay Street since May 21. The closure will be in effect until October to accommodate infrastructural updates.

By the end of the week, however, congestion was slightly lifted.

“The first couple of days have been difficult for drivers, but we are seeing traffic patterns becoming more established and delays becoming reduced,” said Phillip Bellefontaine, City of Victoria assistant director, transportation. “People need to think about the routes they choose, and also the time of day they travel… it’s that predictability and certainty that we feel would have the biggest impact.”

READ MORE: Eastbound traffic closure on Bay Street Bridge starts May 21

Cinching this lane only leaves the Johnson Street Bridge as the direct alternative route to downtown Victoria, with a longer route down Tillicum Road also an option.

Travellers faced long lineups on Tuesday morning, which worsened when the Johnson Street Bridge was raised during peak traffic times, prompting people to turn to social media demanding for an alternating-lane system or more restrictions on marine traffic.

ALSO READ: Construction on Victoria’s Bay Street Bridge set to begin

Bellefontaine said traffic options had been carefully considered prior to construction, and that the current method was the most easy to accomplish logistically as well as the most cost effective.

“It’s a very long bridge, so to introduce that alternating traffic you have to stop in one direction and wait for that traffic to clear,” he said. “What that results in is essentially no traffic is moving for a considerable period of time.”

Additionally, hiring flaggers every day for five months would escalate the cost of the large-scale $6.1 million project.

Alternatively, switching between east and west directions at the beginning and end of the day was also explored. However, after analyzing data Bellefontaine said that traffic wasn’t predictably tidal, and that people from both sides of the bridge travelled fairly equally throughout the day.

“It would be very disruptive and very unpredictable for drivers,” Bellefontaine said. “While you could theoretically have very fixed times of the day, in reality as a driver we don’t plan our days that way.”

The City also already has an agreement in place with the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority about avoiding lifting the Johnson Street Bridge between 7 a.m.-9 a.m. and 3 p.m.-5 p.m., but Bellefontaine said sometimes it’s unavoidable.

“There are occasions when that will happen. In a legal sense marine traffic has seniority… But, it’s very rare.”

The traffic pattern will therefore stay as is until construction wraps up in October.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Just Posted

Three Greater Victoria schools claim climate awards

Awards handed out by British Columbia Sustainable Energy Association

Tips from BC Ferries for travelling this Canada Day long weekend

Tips from BC Ferries for smooth sailing this Canada Day long weekend

Field named for longtime Hampton Little League volunteer

‘Curt Waldner Field’ recognizes years of dedication put in by former little league dad

Saanich honours lifetime of conservation efforts

Mary Haig-Brown wins environmental award for 40 years of extensive volunteer work

Sidney lowers flag to half mast in honour of former fire chief

Mel Baldwin died June 21 at the age of 83; served Sidney Fire for 46 years

Video shows fireworks shot at swan in Alberta

Alberta Fish and Wildlife is investigating the incident in Grande Prairie

WITH VIDEO: Two endangered marmots released on Vancouver Island

With three new pups born in May, two more Vancouver Island Marmots… Continue reading

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

Should B.C. get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

The province wants to know, as state governments down south make the move

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in 0-1 loss to Sweden

Canada missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot

Four-year-old boy assaulted at B.C. soccer game

It happened at a weekend tournament in Ashcroft

Two bear cubs saved near Revelstoke after mother hit by car

Conservation officers trapped the cubs and transported them to a wildlife sanctuary

Heroism medal for B.C. woman who tried to save wheelchair-bound man stuck on rail tracks

Julie Callaghan awarded Carnegie Medal from U.S.-based foundation for ‘extraordinary heroism’

Most Read