Download Proposal PDFs
Please download the compressed PDF from the following link:
I submitted a proposal to the BC Ministry of Transportation regarding the upcoming McKenzie Interchange project. As follows are further explanation and background.
Many were concerned about the size of the Ministry's current proposals,
- the encroachment into Cuthbert Holmes Park,
- the elevated bridges for the Galloping Goose trail,
- the removal of many Garry Oak trees, a protected species on Vancouver Island,
- the increase traffic noise from the removal of trees and elevated segments.
The project also won’t solve the Tillicum Road issue, an intersection further down the highway, which will become the new bottleneck nor the commuters insistence on using Burnside Rd W (at Interurban Rd) to McKenzie Rd as a traffic bypass. During afternoon peak times it takes only a couple minutes to go southbound get to a nearby grocery, but for the return trip can take between 10 and 15 minutes.
The proposal had a number of unique features that were not present in the ones presented by the Ministry.
- It does not encroach into Cuthbert Holmes Park or the access for those living on Portage Rd, in fact the footprint of it is almost the same as what is currently used.
- It maintains the flat grade of the Galloping Goose trail while completely separating it from traffic.
- It will not require much extra space in its construction and still maintain the much of the current levels of traffic, save a period where Admirals Rd is not fully accessible.
- There is need for only one traffic signal and for most commuters the whole experience will be very familiar, as it will be essentially the same but faster and safer.
McKenzie/Admirals below-grade underpass
This is accomplished by excavating McKenzie/Admirals under the Trans-Canada Highway and using centre down-ramps where the current McKenzie and Admirals Roads left-hand turning lanes are located. The Left turn for TC southbound traffic will have signal priority for the Left turn to McKenzie so traffic will flow quite quickly.
The excavation should be relatively straightforward as the Trans-Canada at that location is situated on mostly infill that was placed during the construction of the highway and the archival photos of the area seem to confirm this.
Construction impacts low using Bailey bridges
The key solution to keep the traffic moving with the least amount of disruption or closures hinges on the idea of using temporary Bailey bridges that are lowered over the current roads so that the excavation can occur beneath. If the grade coming down McKenzie cannot get down quick enough to pass under the Trans-Canada and the Galloping Goose Trail, one or more of the bridges, starting from the east could have a slight bow to make room. For times that oversized vehicles cannot make the descent and turn needed to get onto McKenzie (and the reverse) the one temporary road needed for the project could be maintained as a by-pass for this as well as for a Fire Lane, Galloping Goose access trail and perhaps even a bus lane. Also in the future, the Trans-Canada inner descent and ascent ramps could also serve as peak time HOV lanes by using the inner of the two left-hand turning lanes in either direction.
But there will still be problems…
However, regardless of the Interchange design, the Traffic will continue to a problem as commuters south of the Interchange will still need to get on the highway to benefit from the project. Tillicum will still back up traffic, commuters from downtown will still prefer to use Burnside Rd rather to get past that part of the highway. Because of that the traffic will still pool up at Tillicum both on the Trans-Canada and coming from Tillicum Centre; traffic will still back up on McKenzie Rd because of commuters using Burnside Rd W as their by-pass, which they are also backing up. Traffic will also still prove difficult on Helmcken Rd to that Interchange due to Camosun College, the Tech Park, and those that still want to avoid McKenzie altogether; now with the new Shopping Centre at next to the Hospital in View Royal, it is only getting worse.
This is where the second part of the proposal comes in. On Burnside Rd W just before it turns at Interurban Rd, it goes under the two existing Trans-Canada and Galloping Goose bridges that cross the road and Colquitz River. Between the two Trans-Canada bridges there a wonderful solution, a gap, and because of the river an wonderful grade to build a bridge, or specifically an inner up/on-ramp to the Trans-Canada Highway. A bridge similar to the one that Burnside Rd W uses to cross the river that continues on up between the north and southbound lanes and merges left into the Trans-Canada northbound lanes, well before it hits the McKenzie Interchange. By having it come up the middle rather than from the outside (between the northbound bridge and the Galloping Goose bridge), it provides enough separation from Burnside Rd W as it heads towards the Forestry Centre, when tied with the McKenzie proposal, it allows traffic to more easily choose their direction of heading when they get to the McKenzie Interchange. It also keeps that space available for a possible LRT bridge that shares the Galloping Goose corridor.
Keeping flow a go…
As for the Tillicum Rd at Trans-Canada and Burnside Rd W at McKenzie problems, by having this new on ramp we’d be able to put in place peak hours restrictions to discourage drivers from these areas. At peak afternoon hours, Left-hand turns for both Tillicum to TC northbound and Burnside Rd W to McKenzie Rd westbound would be prohibited; allowing only straight-through or right turns and the Left turn from Burnside Rd W to the new inner on-ramp would have a new light with signal priority.
Other benefits to having this on-ramp would be to provide a balanced alternative for commuters from Esquimalt to the Trans-Canada and thus Admirals Rd eastbound would see a reduction in traffic. The Helmcken Interchange could also benefit as commuters from Camosun and the Tech Park might find it faster to continue a bit south on Interurban to get to the Trans-Canada and head north.
I have again posted a PDF version of the full proposal on my website for download. I am an Information Architect and Usability Specialist and as such, out of the box thinking is an everyday requirement.
I hope by having this available, it will help you mitigate any of the concerns both in the areas of Transportation and the Park lands by opening the doors to some ideas that have not yet been fully explored. I did attend the last Open House and talked with some of the engineers about the ideas and were thought quite novel, especially the Burnside Rd W up/on-ramp and the solution it would bring to the problems quite known would still be at Tillicum and Burnside Roads. It’s a low hanging fruit solution too.
I would love to see the traffic moving and would love to see this happen without the encroachment into important park/wetlands and the maintaining of a friendly and at-grade Galloping Goose trail and at the same time providing the room for a future LRT rail and station. In know that you’ve already narrowed down to two proposals, but I’m certain the public would entertain another that can solve many of the concerns they have.
If you have any further questions or need clarifications, please feel free to contact me. I’d also love to hear any feedback and comments you might have about the ideas which I gladly share to the team at the Ministry.
Sincerely, Andrew Jung.