Changes are coming to one of the region’s most accident-prone intersections – but not before you have your say on the matter.
The Pat Bay Highway meets Sayward Road at the north end of Elk Lake in what is one of the most dangerous crossings in Greater Victoria. An average 65 crashes every year result in people being injured at the intersection.
And while rumblings abound about installing an interchange – similar to the one recently built at McTavish Road – that is not in the plans right now.
“The fundamental message (to area residents) is: your worst fears of a major interchange bringing massive traffic flows, that’s not in the cards in the foreseeable future,” said Graham Shorthill, a Cordova Bay Road resident sitting on the province’s advisory group looking at ways to improve safety at the intersection.
Councillors Judy Brownoff and Leif Wergeland and Saanich South MLA Lana Popham are also working with the group.
“We’re looking at short- to medium-term solutions,” Brownoff said. “A majority of the accidents are the result of (cut-through driving) along Cordova Bay Road when the cars try and get back on the highway from Sayward and get rear-ended by a car on the highway because they can’t judge highway speed.”
Among the ideas being batted about include making improvements for transit in the area, installing an acceleration lane from Sayward Road and installing congestion lighting.
“If the highway worked better, if lights were timed, people would use the highway, but the highway’s not working right now,” Brownoff said as to why drivers use Cordova Bay Road as a cut-through.
The group, which also has Ministry of Transportation representatives sitting on it, will meet later this month to look at more detailed options for minimizing accidents on the provincial road.
“Whatever’s decided, it’s going to be a fair chunk of change. But we’ve been told (by the province) that there’s a few million, at least, in the budget to do some of these changes,” Brownoff said.
Shorthill, who is also traffic chair with the Cordova Bay Association for Community Affairs, says he’s hopeful that once that intersection is improved, it will alleviate related problems on Cordova Bay Road.
“What happens at that intersection affects us all directly as a community,” he said.
Popham hopes to hold a public open house before the group makes recommendations on the plans for the intersection.
Any changes that are decided on will also go before Saanich council.