Saanich projects near completion

Partial reopening of Wilkinson Bridge delayed until February

A cyclist travels along the new Lansdowne Road cycle track that connects the Lochside Trail on both sides of the McKenzie Avenue and Borden intersection.

A cyclist travels along the new Lansdowne Road cycle track that connects the Lochside Trail on both sides of the McKenzie Avenue and Borden intersection.

If there’s a silver lining for the delay of the partial reopening of the Wilkinson Bridge, it’s that the project is still on track for its total completion date in February.

Unfortunately, the plan to have part of the new $3.9 million bridge open to traffic later this month is not going to happen, said Harley Machielse, director of Saanich Engineering.

“The delay is a combination of a few factors, October was one of the rainier months on record, which impacted overall productivity,” he said.

The constant rains impeded the crew’s ability to pour concrete and pave roads. There’s also a limited amount of space for the crews to do the job.

“The crews are working as hard as possible to open the road in a timely fashion and it has not affected the budget,” Machielse said.

About 15,000 vehicles travel Wilkinson Road per day. The new bridge replaces an aging one and includes pedestrian and cycling options in the design. When the bridge does reopen, sometime around February, it will be a partial opening but only for a short stage of time before it is fully open to traffic.

Originally, it was thought the bridge would be open to partial traffic from November to February. Saanich has been in communication with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure regarding the timeline for the Wilkinson Bridge and neither anticipate it to impact the McKenzie interchange construction which is set to become intense in the coming months.

Saanich is also nearing completion on two more cycling lane infrastructure projects, the Lochside Trail connector on Borden Street and Cedar Hill Cross Road, and a Lansdowne Road cycling track between Shelbourne Street and Dean Avenue.

The Lochside connector is one of the first bi-directional bikeways in Saanich and is born out of an extensive community engagement plan last year. McKenzie is the biggest interruption of the Lochside.

The bi-directional cycle track is a new concept for Saanich, but not unique to Borden. A short segment of bi-directional track is just being finished on Ravine Way along the new Whole Foods at Uptown.

A separated cycle track along Lansdowne, meanwhile, completes a long connection that runs along the Victoria section of Hillside Avenue from Doncaster all the way to Foul Bay. The bikeway/walkway also runs along a right-of-way in front of Camosun College’s Lansdowne campus, and connects to the earlier bikeway completed there in 2014. To do so, the new bikeway sweeps behind the row of old mature trees on Camosun property along Lansdowne.