Traffic flow at the intersection at Haliburton Road and the Patricia Bay Highway will see changes in the coming months.
The public heard Monday that the Ministry of Highway and Infrastructure plans to install an advanced green light for motorists turning left off Haliburton onto the highway.
Coun. Leif Wergeland said council has been aware of this issue for some time and consulted with the ministry.
“Something is supposed to be happening in the next two months,” said Wergeland.
He made these comments after council had heard from Helvetia Crescent resident Karla Krane during the open forum portion of Monday’s council meeting.
Krane said population growth in the wake of residental development on Cordova Bay Ridge has led to increased traffic.
“Most of you are probably aware that there are only a very small number of ways to get up and down the ridge,” said Krane. “So with all of this increased traffic, it has become somewhat of a nightmare during peak travel hours.”
During both the morning and evening rush hour, vehicle traffic gets “dangerous and congested,” especially on Haliburton Road between Wesley Road and the Pat Bay Highway, she said.
Traffic heading onto the highway backs up on Haliburton Road to the point that it could take drivers multiple lights until they are able to turn left onto the highway, said Krane.
“Frustrated drivers often turn left onto the highway, even after the light has turned right,” she said.
Traffic backing up on Haliburton Road has also effects elsewhere, she said.
When parents are heading down Haliburton Road towards the highway after dropping off their children at Claremont secondary school, joining others who are driving to work, it can become nearly impossible for vehicles turning right onto Halliburton from Del Monte, said Krane.
“For these reasons, I respectfully ask council to advocate for the installation of a green left-turn arrow from Halliburton onto the highway during peak travel hours, approximately 8 to 10 a.m. and 4:30 to 6 p.m. on weekdays,” she said.
Council, it appeared, was already on it. “It has been there [the issue] for a long time and they [the ministry] have been concerned, we have been concerned,” said Wergeland. “It looks like it is going to happen.”
He said the ministry does not want to slow down highway traffic. “But they have agreed, whether it is a five, six or seven [second] advanced [left-hand turn] for people coming the hill,” he said.
Under the pending arrangement, drivers turning left onto the highway from Haliburton Road will get to turn ahead of drivers heading up Haliburton, said Wergeland.
“That should make a difference,” he said.
Coun. Colin Plant confirmed the pending changes, but also urged the public to be patient.
“This is wonderful news,” he said. “It is just a matter of when. It is a provincial decision, it is not Saanich’s. We can only lobby.”