That's an above-our weight share (approx. 15%) of the total funding allocated to 21 Vancouver Island communities through this latest round of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure program.
Work on this and the Church Road corridor improvements is slated to begin this fall. You'll need to routinely visit the District's traffic advisory page to plan around the inevitable short-term hold-ups. Both projects are part of the remarkably fast-tracked implementation of Sooke's 2020 Transportation Master Plan stewarded by Director of Operations Jeff Carter.
And both dramatically improved intersections align with a renewed, OCP-certified vision for a Town Centre radiating out from Canada's southwestern-most traffic light (at Otter Point Rd.). Efficient, walkable, rideable, attractive and multi-user-friendly ... not such an easy task with a highway running through, but oh what a difference this last decade has made and is making.
Now onwards with the challenging task of putting some guardrail limits on our growth and the resultant traffic.
*Le Grand Orange was one of my boyhood Montreal Expos heroes ... feel free to substitute Reggie Jackson, Ken Griffey Jr. or Snr., Hank Aaron, or Joe Carter, a forever-after Blue Jays legend for his 1993 World Series clincher that triggered celebrations long into the night even where we were living in west-side Vancouver. I stopped following MLB not long after, so can't name a single 21st century slugger apart from Carlos Delgado.)
Jan. 20 original: I recently asked the District of Sooke's Director of Operations Jeff Carter for an overview of 2021 road infrastructure design and construction priorities. He replied today to all of us on council in his typically precise, professional fashion with what follows below.
I wrote because I repeatedly hear the plaintive, often agonized question "what the heck is the District doing about the growing and increasingly crazy amount of traffic in this town?!" (paraphrased minus a few choice expletives). Answer: A great deal, as it turns out, both now and in the future as identified in the District's 2020 Transportation and Parks & Trails Master Plans.
The estimable Mr. Carter has provided all these details to council a number of times over the last six months during various Five-Year Financial Plan presentations (including the 2021 Budget Open House virtual session; he begins at 38:40 here) . Yet rather than risk my own likely faulty interpretation, I thought it best to ask the expert. Over to him ...
"Please see the following in regards to 2021 Capital Projects as well as Design initiatives in alignment with Council's adopted 2020 Transportation Master Plan and Parks and Trails Master Plan.
1. Church Road Corridor Project – Final design in progress, anticipating tender in spring and construction in summer/fall.
- Roundabout at Church and Throup inclusive of corridor construction up to and just south of Wadams Way
- Intersection upgrades from HWY 14 to approximately the RCMP detachment including extension of southbound right-hand turn lane into the town center.
- Active Transportation infrastructure (bike lanes, multi-use paths, sidewalk) will be included primarily on the southbound/west side of the corridor within scope up above points as per “collector” standards.
- As development progresses/occurs on the east side of the corridor, property acquisition will be required to include a northbound sidewalk in the future.
- Design will be completed in the center section of the corridor from approximately the RCMP detachment/Country Road to just south of Wadams Way; This section is not in the 2021 budget allocation for construction, but cost will be determined from final design estimates for Council consideration to be included in tender pricing. This will provide an option to complete the full corridor improvements as part of this project to capture opportunity cost savings by economies of scale and avoid higher cost to complete this small section in the future.
- This project is a complex corridor project involving alignment of District construction with required frontage construction projects for current developments.
- District staff are ambitious and confident in pushing this project through to completion in 2021.
2. Otter Point Road Corridor Active Transportation Project – Final design in progress; currently at 85% detailed design from HYW 14 to Grant Road West.
- Project is inclusive of completion of bike lanes, sidewalks, boulevard improvements, lighting, and pavement resurfacing – both sides of corridor.
- This project is included in the 5-Year Financial Plan for construction in 2024; however, a significant grant opportunity to fund the majority of this project will be presented to Council for consideration at the January 25th Regular Council Meeting.
- Pending Council’s direction, in conjunction with a successful grant application, this project may be completed in 2021.
3. Charters/Drennan Intersection Upgrades - Required for BC Housing developments
- Final Design for the intersection projects has just been engaged – I have been in contact with the owners of West Coast Auto Shack to ensure access to their business will be considered through the final design process
- As discussed, although this project is budgeted for construction 2021, my recent discussions with MOTI have determined it will be beneficial to possibly delay this project until 2022/23.
- This project is required to support additional density from the 2 BC housing developments, but it is strategic to implement these intersection upgrades closer to, or in conjunction with, the Throup connection to Phillips Road. This will ultimately reduce congestion on HWY 14.
4. EV Charger Eustace & Bus Shelter upgrades
- Pending outcome of (3) above, the Eustace EV charging station, and addition of bus shelter at the Sooke Brewing Company location on Otter Point near Eustace, will be tendered as part of the Otter Point corridor project; otherwise, EV charger at Eustace location will be completed independently in 2021.
5. Brailsford Place Connection – Anticipated completion through 2021
Corridor Design Projects 2021
i) Phillips Road Corridor – HWY 14 to north of SEAPARC; - “Arterial” Standard – Procurement in Progress: Award anticipated in February.
ii) Charters Road Corridor – HWY 14 to Throup Road; - “Collector” Standard – Procurement in Progress: Award anticipated in February.
iii) Throup Road Connector – Phillips Road to Charters Road; - “Arterial” Standard – Procurement in Progress: Award anticipated in February.
iv) Otter Point at Wadams Roundabout/Grant Road West Realignment; “Arterial” Standard – Conceptual Design in Progress; anticipate 50% design completed by summer 2021.
NOTES: Corridor construction projects for existing alignments will follow corridor standard within the TMP, but will be adjusted accordingly based on Right-of-Way Allowances.
Key Community Capital Projects to be engaged in 2021
- Bluffs Staircase replacement – pending grant success for 100% funding
- Sooke Potholes access improvements – pending grant success for 100% funding
- Multi-use sports box in Sunriver – In progress
- DeMamiel (Little River) Bridge pedestrian crossing – pending grant success
For further reference: 2021-2025-Financial-Plan-Package.pdf
Major capital projects are currently earmarked within the 5 year financial plan; but may be expedited to early dates for Council consideration pending funding opportunities. Operationally, the goal is to have most major designs completed over the next year so projects are shelf ready for when grant opportunities come available.
2021 Budget virtual open house 2021 Budget Open House: Presentation is about 1.5 hours; Operations section is from 40-58 minute mark.
Hope this summary information is helpful, please let me know if any further information is required.
Director of Operations
PS JB back again to add a few Transportation Master Plan page references if you wish to explore the logic behind these actions and the District's short/medium/longer-term intentions for all modes of active and automobile transportation.
* pg. 10: Challenges Sooke faces today (i.e., lack of street connectivity and sidewalks; the increasingly busy Highway 14 corridor; inadequate transit service)
* pg. 16: Future pedestrian network
* pg. 23: Future cycling network
* pg. 31-37: Future transit service (based on the 2020 Local Area Transit Plan, which will be implemented by BC Transit likely post-pandemic)
* pp. 38-52: "Complete Streets" traffic policies, street network, existing and projected traffic volume through 2038, intersection upgrades, short-and-long-term improvements, street classifications, neighbourhood traffic management, "Sooke's Roundabout First Policy," and parking design & management
* pp. 52-57: Electric vehicles, e-bikes, ride hailing
* pp. 60-68: Action plan featuring short, medium, long-term and 20 years+ priorities
* pg. 69: Funding sources (general revenues, Development Cost Charges, provincial and federal grants, carbon tax rebates, etc.)
* pp. 78-83: Diagrams of "Complete Streets Cross-Sections" that illustrate the differences between "arterial," "collector" and other street types.
More about transportation matters from this blog:
~ Parks & Transportation Masterplanning (July 2020)
~ Highway 14 Revisited (March 2019)
~ Fresh Paint, Familiar Refrain for Sooke Road (Nov. 2018)
~ Cycling Forward (March 2014)
PPS I've been gifted with final versions of both the TMP and PTMP. I also have large-format colour copies of the draft editions and will happily move them along to the first of any dear readers who request one/other/both via email. Smartly conceived, rooted in public engagement, filled with realistic actions that address challenges and lay the groundwork for a complete, smart-growth community + beautifully designed and readable. Worthy of some kind of BC local government planning award, I'm sure. Kudos again to all responsible.