The province today announced more improvements coming to Sooke Rd.
Highway 14 corridor improvements announced were the widening and realignment of approximately 1.5 kilometres of road, with a median barrier added, running from Glinz Lake Road behind the Mile 17 Pub through to Connie Road. No mention of doubling the lanes was made, although the map does show double-lane capacity, each way.
A new park and ride will be constructed on Gillespie Road, and wider shoulders will be built between Otter Point Road and Woodhaven Road.
This $85 million project is being funded jointly by the Province of B.C. and the Federal Government. For the Highway 14 Corridor Improvement project in Sooke, the Government of Canada is contributing up to $30,233,000 to this project through the New Building Canada Fund, while the Government of British Columbia is providing up to $55,482,000.
Speaking at the announcement, Premier John Horgan (B.C. Premier and MLA for Langford and Juan de Fuca) said that the project should take about two years.
When asked about the lack of transparency that has received recent media attention, Horgan noted that the public’s main opportunity to provide public input was at last year’s Open House. Sooke PocketNews did inquire about the straightening of the road at that time, and we were told that this was a very unlikely option at the time, given the high per-kilometer costs. From this SPN write-up in June 2018:
“In speaking with a representative from the Ministry, this clearly is a pie-in-the-sky option. The costs alone, given the elevation of the project, are staggering. The cost per kilometer is anywhere from $20 million to $50 million; a 13 kilometer highway could cost half a billion dollars. Don’t hold your breath.”
Horgan said that all 27 property owners of lands being impacted have been contacted. Five of the six property owners with land that will be acquired have arrived at an agreement where “fair market or beyond fair market” deals have been reached. The sixth is still being negotiated. The pay-off, said Horgan, is that tens of thousands of people lives will be improved.
Regarding emergency vehicle access, Horgan said that when a logging truck currently tips on Hwy 14, access “is nil.” By widening and dividing the highway, the full closure of the highway becomes less likely, allowing for continued access of emergency vehicles.
Speaking to other local highway updates, Horgan noted that in Langford, the stretch of Highway 1 between Leigh Road and Westshore Parkway will be widened from three lanes to four and a new median barrier to separate traffic will be added. A new northbound through lane will also be constructed at the Westshore Parkway intersection.
Read their full media release here.