Rush-hour traffic in the fast-growing community of Sooke, British Columbia has become a point of frustration for many drivers.

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait says she often hears of frustrated drivers who have to deal with the main roads that run through town on a daily basis.

The problem is compounded when there is a car accident or road construction is in progress.

Tait says the problem is coming to a head, especially as the region develops rapidly, more people return to work and public transit operates at full capacity due to labor shortages. .

“For sure it’s tough on the residents,” said Tait, standing along Sooke Road as traffic passed.

In 2019, the District of Sooke – one of the fastest growing communities in the region – released its 10-year transportation master plan. On Tuesday, Tait said the plan had been accelerated to five or six years.

“We know there’s a lot of catching up to do,” she said.

“In Sooke, we need to do more for our internal road network to get residents home safely and faster.”

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait is pictured. April 5, 2022 (CTV News)

GROWING PAINS

This work will be short-term pain for long-term gain, according to Tait, because the district doesn’t have many detours or alternate options to keep traffic flowing while infrastructure improvements take place.

One of the biggest obstacles to the district’s planned construction schedule is funding.

“We are very grateful to the province and the federal government for providing us with several grants. However, we rely on future grant applications to complete the road network and we have not always been successful in this,” Tait said.

The mayor says the district is working on its active transportation plan to encourage more people to walk or bike.

The fast-growing community plans to keep growing to really help manage traffic.

“Community economic development,” Tait said. “So how do we keep commuters within our community and find more local job opportunities for residents, so they don’t have to travel to other municipalities?”

“But it takes time, money and of course we can’t design, build and drive on a road at the same time,” she said. “There will be delays while we do this necessary work.”


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