Like traffic on Highway 14, the #dividedby14 campaign is at a standstill waiting to hear back from government officials.
“I’m a little disappointed that we haven’t heard any news from the premier or the minister of transportation,” said co-member David Evans, owner of Stick in the Mud cafe.
“I know that new governments are busy, but I also know that upgrades to highway 14 are a nonpartisan issue.”
He explained that the awareness group reached out to Transportation Minister Claire Trevena, and were told to expect a report this fall.
“No one is debating the fact that Highway 14 needs upgrades,” said Evans. “We’re just kind of wondering why no one’s doing anything about it.”
Evans said although the government has been busy with forest fires this summer, he hopes that the highway will still be a priority to government.
“It will never be cheaper and easier to work on that road than it is today,” said Evans. “It will also never have less of a disruption and more of a positive affect than right now. And we want to be able to direct the growth, and make sure that Sooke grows smart rather than just react to 10,000 people living here in the next few years.”
— Meanwhile in Sooke (@Ben1kendrick) June 19, 2017
He said that #dividedby14 has helped them bring awareness to the issue, but now it’s time to get the ministry on top of things.
“We know they are working on it, we know they’ve been studying it for decades and have been buying land along the corridor for years, but when are they going to do something?” said Evans.
— Jeremy Wilson (@JereWilson17) August 31, 2017
The Transportation Ministry it has recently invested $800,000 towards improvements on the Parkland and Gillespie intersections that are currently ongoing, but are expected to be finished at the end of the year.
Some of the improvements included: Refreshing existing signs, adding a commercial truck rollover warning sign, removing vegetation to improve visibility, installing new intersection lighting at key points along the corridor, doubling the width of fog line paint, and replacing “cats-eyes” along the corridor between Gillespie and Parkland.
“Highway 14 is a critical link on southern Vancouver Island serving a wide variety of people, including commuters, commercial drivers, tourists and cyclists,” said the ministry in a statement. “The ministry has invested more than $8 million from 2012 to 2017 to improve Highway 14 between Langford and Sooke.”
These improvements included: highway resurfacing, shoulder widening and adding a roundabout ($6 million contributed by the Province), drainage improvements near Impala Road ($475,000), shoulder widening in the Metchosin/Sooke area ($355,000), Highway 14 enhanced delineation ($200,000), placing a digital overhead sign near Awsworth Road ($250,000), installing a web-cam at Kangaroo Road ($17,000), and applying new higher quality reflective glass bead to the paint lines to improve visibility at night (no cost breakdown as this was considered routine line marking maintenance work).
Evans said Sooke will need a second route at some point, but knows that won’t happen soon, so he hopes that the ministry will start making more small improvements to the road right away, such as adding bus pullovers to improve traffic flow.
“There’s very little we can do, but we will continue to petition to the government and reach out to these people. And it is really up to the users of the road to maintain the currency of the hashtag,” he said.