Wilkinson Bridge/Colquitz River Trail

Wilkinson Road Corridor Improvements 

Project Update - February 7, 2017

Construction work on the Wilkinson Bridge Replacement / Colquitz Trail Extension project is continuing and we are still planning to open the road to traffic later this month. It is however, weather dependent; we will provide updates on this page as needed.

We have revised the planting scheme to include the area near Wilkinson Road and the park on the southern side of the river. Please review the latest Colquitz River Landscape Plans [PDF - 2.8 MB] along the trail and near the new bridge.

As we enter the new year and construction is progressing, we will be providing notice on this page once a date to re-open Wilkinson Road is set. We appreciate the continued patience of local and regional residents and look forward to the completion of this important infrastructure project.

Project News - October 31, 2016

The Wilkinson Bridge Replacement / Colquitz Trail Extension project remains on schedule with project completion identified for February 2017. The road portion of the project is 50% complete and the trail portion is 70% complete.

The latest schedule indicates that the road portion of the project will not be opened to traffic until early February 2017. Our original goal was to have the road open to traffic (with minor delays and alternating single lanes during the working day) at the end of November 2016.

This change in schedule was influenced by constraints in winter paving ability and complexities in coordinating third party utilities.

Safe passage for all users is a key aspect to reopening the roadway to travel. This means the roadway surface requires a good asphalt base plus safety features such as bridge side rails and vehicle crash barriers.  

We are working diligently to try to have the road opened as soon as possible. Motorists, pedestrians and cyclists are asked to continue using existing alternate routes until further notice.

Project News - September 9, 2016

After a thorough review, and consideration of the pros and cons, the two large sequoia trees on Wilkinson Road near Mann Avenue and Miller Road will be retained and minor modifications to the design will be undertaken to minimize impacts to the trees during and after construction of the nearby sidewalk.  Pruning of the lower limbs will be undertaken to improve pedestrian visibility and sight lines as part of the work.
 
Saanich Engineering and Parks will continue to monitor the trees and should circumstances change in the future another review will be undertaken at that time.  We appreciate the patience of the public as we worked through this part of the project. 
 

Project News - August 15, 2016

Wilkinson Bridge is closed until approximately November 2016. There is no access across the river for pedestrians, cyclists or vehicles (see photo).

The Wilkinson Road and bridge project is currently on schedule with the drilling sub-contractor finalizing the installation of the bridge support piles on the north side of the river. The pile installation is complete on the south side and the bridge contractor's crew are actively preparing the abutments and wing walls forms ahead of the concrete pour. The main contractor is continuing the underground infrastructure upgrades and preparing for the large excavations needed to widen Wilkinson Road for the new bike lanes and improved sidewalks.
 
The Colquitz River Trail extension is also on schedule with the contractor finalizing details for the construction of the elevated boardwalk portions. With the trail excavation complete, vegetated greenwalls and base gravels in place, the rock walls and Lindsay Street access stairs will begin soon. Working with the contractor, the Parks Department has undertaken a significant amount of invasive species removal along the trail alignment. Working with the community and a stewardship group, these areas will be replanted with native trees and under story species. Please contact the Parks Department if you are interested in participating with this restoration work.

Project News - July 8, 2016

Wilkinson Bridge is closed until approximately November 2016. There is no access across the river for pedestrians, cyclists or vehicles (see photo).

Motorists are encouraged to plan for an alternative route and avoid the area if possible. We have maintained local access including emergency services, Saanich solid waste collection and CRD recycling pick-up. 

Pedestrians and cyclists are detoured around the construction site as follows:  north bound - on Wilkinson Road, right on Mann Ave, left onto the existing Colquitz River Trail, straight to Casa Linda Drive, left on viaduct Ave East, curve right on Viaduct Ave, left on Greenlea Drive, right back onto Wilkinson Road. The south bound detour is in reverse order.

Note that signs are in place to guide you through the detour route. Please obey all traffic control personnel.

Both projects are currently on schedule.

Project Update - May 19, 2016

The Wilkinson Bridge Replacement / Colquitz Trail Extension project replaces a critical piece of transportation infrastructure while providing new bike lanes, sidewalks, trails, and upgrades to utility infrastructure.

Saanich Council approved the award of project contracts at its May 16, 2016 meeting. The construction is split into two contracts:  the Road and Bridge contract consists of the road upgrading, the new bridge over the Colquitz River and a portion of the Colquitz River Trail from the bridge site approximately 100 metres east across and including the new pedestrian bridge; and the Trail contract consists of the remainder of the Colquitz River Trail and includes the boardwalk sections.

The first contract has been awarded to Don Mann Excavating Ltd. and the second contract to Jacob Brothers Construction. While the project construction will occur concurrently, the contracts will be administered separately. The project is scheduled for construction from June 2016 through to February 2017.

The first contract, will require the closure of Wilkinson Road between Greenlea Drive and Mann Avenue. The road closure will begin by early June 2016 and last approximately six months to the end of November 2016. Emergency access, Saanich garbage collection, CRD recycling collection and local access will be maintained during the construction period.

The second contract will require some single lane only and minor delay restrictions periodically along Lindsay Street from Wilkinson Road to Casa Linda Drive. Emergency access, Saanich garbage collection, CRD recycling collection and local access will be maintained on Lindsay Street during the construction period. However, from June to November 2016 there will be no through access from Lindsay Street to Wilkinson Road except for construction traffic.

Please note there will be times when construction activities related to the first contract area may affect access to the second contract area. At those times construction traffic may need to use Viewmont, Viaduct, Casa Linda streets to access the second contract area. Saanich staff will work with both contractors to minimize these occasions.   

Please check back to this project page for any project or traffic updates through the summer and fall 2016.

Project Update- Spring 2014

We have recently updated the project schedule.  This is a result of a Traffic Analysis of anticipated impacts to the area roads during construction.  The analysis was initiated by comments / concerns we received during the Open House in March 2014.  The analysis concluded there was a need to install a traffic signal at the Glanford Avenue / Mann Avenue intersection to accommodate the additional traffic volumes during construction through the intersection.  The signal should be installed and operational before any construction (impacting traffic) begins on Wilkinson Road.

Information on commuter volume can be found in our Traffic Analysis [PDF - 1.5 MB] document.

For details of the proposed traffic signals at the Glanford Avenue/Mann Avenue intersection, read our  Details of the Proposed Traffic Signals [PDF - 2.6 MB]

The revised project schedule is as follows:

  • January to August 2015:  Finalize the Wilkinson Road, Bridge and Colquitz Trail design.
  • September 2015 to March 2016: Construction tender / contract preparation.
  • April 2016 to February 2017: Project construction.
  • March/April 2017: Final project close out and documentation.

The public Open House held on March 6, 2014 was a great success with over 150 people in attendance during the event. We received 69 completed questionnaires providing valuable information, thoughts and comments from attendees. The results can be viewed here. [PDF - 37 KB] If you have further questions or are interested in the progress of the project design, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Project Update - January 2013

The design of the trail and roadway minimizes tree loss where possible but in order to accommodate the many aspects of this multi-faceted project a number of trees need to be removed. Several reasons for the tree loss include:

  • Replacement of the Wilkinson Bridge
  • Extension of the Colquitz River Trail
  • Widening of the roadway to accommodate new bike lanes and sidewalks
  • Relocation of utility poles and overhead wiring
  • Grade changes to the roadway
  • Poor tree health

The community has expressed concerns around the tree removal and, in particular, two Sequoias located near Mann Avenue. The two Sequoia trees will not be removed at this time. Staff are committed to working with the contractor, once selected, to discuss options that meet the intent of the project while minimizing the impact to the Sequoia trees. Further investigation with the contractor such as hand digging near the trees, will need to be undertaken in order to inform the options available.

The project is committed to planting 184 new trees within the roadway, park, and neighbouring community. While it’s recognized these trees won’t immediately replace the tree canopy, in time it is expected the canopy will double in size. Staff have spoken to several property owners who wish to have additional trees planted within private property. If you are interested in having a tree(s) planted within your property, please contact us at engineering@saanich.ca .

Project Overview

Saanich Engineering and Saanich Parks are initiating a project to replace the Wilkinson Road Bridge, upgrade Wilkinson Road and extend the Colquitz River Trail. Planning and design will take place in 2014 with construction anticipated in 2015.

The aim of this project is to:

  • Upgrade Wilkinson Road from Mann Avenue to the Quick’s Bottom Trail connections (near 4467 Wilkinson Road). The upgrading would see the installation of curbs, sidewalks and bike lanes on both sides of the road where possible;
  • Replace the existing bridge over the Colquitz River with a new bridge; and
  • Extend the Colquitz River Trail from Casa Linda Drive to Wilkinson Road.

Wilkinson Road, classified a Major Road in the Official Community Plan, accommodates:

  • Approximately 15,000 vehicles per day
  • A high use transit route
  • An increasing number of cyclists and pedestrians

It is currently a two lane road with no bike lanes and an inadequate sidewalk on the east side. It has been designated as a strategic corridor by the Capital Regional District (CRD). The high traffic volume, together with limited pedestrian and cycling facilities inhibits the balance between transportation modes along this route.

The existing structure was installed in 1935 over the Colquitz River at Lindsay Street. It has concrete walls with a concrete roof sitting on the walls.

Challenges:

  • Slightly restricts the flow of the Colquitz River

A 2010 condition review by a bridge/structural consultant indicated:

  • Structural deficiencies in the wing walls
  • A poor sidewalk on the east side
  • Moderate vulnerability in a seismic event

Envisioned in 1967:

The Colquitz River Trail system, identified in the Official Community Plan and the Parks Master Plan was planned to connect Cuthbert Holmes Park to Elk / Beaver Lake Park and to protect this urban waterway. Much of the initial construction was completed by the end of the 1970’s.  To extend the trail the Municipality has continued to actively acquire property along the entire length of the river, when available. The trail currently ends near Casa Linda Drive, approximately 450 meters east of Wilkinson Road. The trail is popular with a variety of users: cyclists, walkers, joggers and skate boarders.

Concept Plan began in May of 2012:

Saanich applied for a Federal Gas Tax grant (General Strategic Priorities Fund [GSPF]) to undertake the project. The application was approved in January 2013 with the official announcement in March 2013. During the summer and fall of 2013 we have been working to:

  • Hire a design team to help with the concepts and organize a public information session;
  • Hire an Environmental consultant to ensure the environmental aspects of the work were considered and to help obtain the required Federal and Provincial permits;
  • Initiate Geotechnical investigations;
  • Initiate Archaeological investigations.