The B.C. government has presented three possible designs for a new interchange at Highway 1 and McKenzie Avenue north of Victoria, which Transportation Minister Todd Stone has called the worst traffic bottleneck in B.C.
Stone said Monday there will be extensive consultations with area residents on the options for the new interchange, but the intent is to have "shovels in the ground" by late 2016 and the interchange open by the fall of 2018.
In conjunction with the West Shore parkway project through Langford, the new interchange should "go a long way" to eliminating what south Vancouver Island commuters have come to know as the "Colwood crawl," Stone said.
The project will include separate bus lanes and a separated path for the Galloping Goose cycling and hiking trail.
Stone said the ministry is confident all three options can be built within the $85 million budget of the project, and a fourth option could be considered if public input indicates that it is needed. The provincial and federal government announced funding in July, with $52.4 million from the province and $32.6 million from the federal government.
Asked if the project could end up resembling the multi-traffic circle exchange connecting Highway 17 to Victoria airport, Stone chuckled.
"We're very conscious with this particular interchange that you will not see it from space," Stone said. "The McTavish interchange does its job very well. There has been feedback from the public that perhaps it is a bit over-engineered."
The proposed designs can be viewed online here.
Public input on the designs can be submitted by phone to 250-387-8700 or by email to email@example.com.