Interchange impacts more than just traffic

Province must ensure protection of sensitive wildlife area surrounding Cuthbert Holmes Park

The province is moving ahead with plans for a new McKenzie interchange. Transportation Minister Todd Stone announced Tuesday that a partial cloverleaf would be constructed for the interchange where the Trans-Canada Highway crosses Admirals Road and McKenzie Avenue.

“We heard overwhelming support for the partial cloverleaf design, supported by the team’s ongoing technical analysis, and now our work continues in discussing further details with stakeholder groups and the public as we finalize the design,” said Stone, pointing out three-quarters of those who took part in public consultation preferred the partial cloverleaf option.

While technical analysis shows the partial cloverleaf provides benefits to safety and efficient movement of traffic, it does come at a cost. That cost takes the shape of an increased footprint in Cuthbert Holmes Park. Park steward Dorothy Chambers has opposed the partial cloverleaf option, saying it would be devastating to trees and wildlife in the area.

As the project moves forward, the province must work closely with stakeholders and park stewards to mitigate the impact on the environment and ensure Cuthbert Holmes retains its valuable natural setting.

The design of the interchange should improve access for cyclists and pedestrians, with a separate route for a wider Galloping Goose Trail, following a path over the highway avoiding lights and vehicle traffic.

Of course, the driving force behind the $85 million project is to reduce traffic congestion on what has been called “the largest bottleneck in B.C. outside of the George Massey Tunnel.”

We are optimistic that when the project is expected to wrap up sometime in 2018 it will significantly reduce the commute times for those stuck on the “Colwood Crawl”. We would hope the province will devote as much thought to providing a benefit to residents and wildlife in the area as they have for the 90,000 motorists who pass by each day.

 

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