Some say there are two seasons in Canada: winter and construction. But what if there are three? Winter, construction, and the slow progress of infrastructure improvements trickling from the province.
Unfortunately, the last one is year-long. Every year. Seemingly for all eternity.
The McKenzie interchange is the perfect example of laziness, one that’s on display for us all to see every day by the side of the road, passing by mounds of shattered rock, dust, and bare, half-finished foundations. Recent news of its completion weren’t great either, as a new contractor switchover means the infamous interchange won’t likely be done until 2019.
Is that all $89 million buys us nowadays? 2019? And that’s being optimistic.
So this begs the question: if a 25-storey condominium takes six months to a year to complete from a muddy chasm in the ground to the tip, why does it take several years to build a basic interchange?
Then you have the rest of Greater Victoria, which sees tens of thousands of vehicles squeeze their way through narrow, inter-urban roads daily, or, our personal favourite, Johnson Street Bridge and its long-promised successor that we’ll see finished, maybe some sunny day.
The Transportation Ministry are trying. Kind of. Patches of roads are being rebuilt across the region, with delineation projects and improved lighting appearing all over, even as far as Sooke. Commendable efforts, yet still short-handed with current demand.
So what is it then? Manpower? Equipment? Let’s not kid ourselves, you can summon all the cement and dump trucks in the world and find skilled tradespeople driven and willing to get the job done. But like always, money talks. It’s easier to wrap everything in red tape and push things at a snail’s pace because it takes little to no responsibility for those in charge. The rest of us sit in traffic, fighting like rabid animals for a metre of lane space.
Victoria is on the brink of the biggest infrastructure crisis in its existence, so the time to act is now, not tomorrow, not next year. Find the right people for the job, utilize every dime to its full potential and get those tracks moving.