Summer traffic woes start soon in Saanich

Quadra on-ramp to Pat Bay Highway to close for two weeks starting May 19

Nothing says summer quite like inching the car along under the blistering hot sun as workers in reflective vests usher one-way traffic through plastic pylons.

Make no mistake: it’s summer construction season in Saanich, and two major projects will soon be creating inconveniences for drivers.

To start, Saanich crews will begin a full shut-down of the Patricia Bay Highway on-ramp at Quadra Street beginning May 19, thanks to a faulty sewage pipe.

The northbound on-ramp access will be closed until June 2, and Saanich’s engineering director Harley Machielse is recommending drivers loop south and access the Pat Bay northbound from Mckenzie Avenue, or detour north and use the access at Royal Oak Drive.

Saanich’s big-ticket roadworks item this year is a phase of the $5.6-million Tillicum Complete Streets Project. As of today (May 6), there will be a full road closure on Tillicum Road between Carey Road and the Trans-Canada Highway. Crews will be working along this 1,250-metre stretch for the next two months, although pedestrian traffic will still be able to get through the area, Machielse said. Cyclists will be asked to detour or dismount and walk their bikes through the construction zone. Side phases of the Tillicum project stretch north on Glanford Avenue to Mann Avenue.

Saanich acknowledges that closing the well-used Tillicum artery and Quadra on-ramp will cause headaches and is asking for patience as traffic is re-routed.

“To prevent delays and unnecessary traffic congestion, we ask that drivers plan alternates routes and avoid this section of Tillicum Road for this phase of the project,” Machielse said.

The two lane plan for Tillicum will maintain access to residential driveways and install medians to calm traffic and create “pedestrian refuges,” he added.

The end goal of the Complete Streets project is to provide safer access for pedestrians and cyclists while upgrading underground utilities.

Saanich crews are also in the final stages of the Cook Street improvement project from Quadra to Maplewood Road. That area is expected to re-open to traffic later this month.