Saanich South Liberal candidate Rishi Sharma is gearing up to tackle traffic congestion at the intersection of Interurban and Wilkinson roads.
After hearing from residents who were both concerned and irritated about the “confusing five-way intersection,” Sharma announced on Oct. 19 that a BC Liberal government would tackle traffic issues in the area by “committing to share the cost” of a feasibility study with the district.
“Traffic congestion at Wilkinson and Interurban is a daily challenge for local residents and commuters alike,” Sharma said, adding that the intersection is “notorious for causing accidents and heavy rush-hour backups.”
After speaking to the Saanich Engineering Department about the intersection’s problems, Sharma reached out to the BC Liberal party to request funding to assist the district in conducting a study looking at improvement options.
Sharma referenced a non-scientific survey conducted by Saanich News in 2018 that showed that 38 per cent of readers deemed the intersection of Wilkinson and Interurban roads to be the worst for traffic congestion. At the time, Harley Machielse, Saanich’s director of engineering, said the district would reassess issues at the intersection following the completion of the McKenzie interchange.
Now that the interchange project is near complete, Sharma says it’s time to focus on the next congested intersection. He noted that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and other politicians have “been silent on the topic.”
”Saanich residents don’t need silence, they need leadership and an MLA who works for them,” Sharma said.
#SaanichSouth announcement: Talking to residents it is clear they are frustrated with traffic congestion at Wilkinson/Interurban. @bcliberals and I will commit to cost share feasibility study to start improvements @saanichnews @timescolonist @katiederosayyj pic.twitter.com/KFH6289pUr
— Rishi Sharma (@Rishi_ss) October 19, 2020
District spokesperson Megan Catalano confirmed that Saanich plans to begin an 18-month study “to review the traffic operations and develop options to improve [the intersection]” in late 2021. While the cost has yet to be determined, she said “Saanich would be pleased to learn more from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure on potential partnership or grant opportunities.”