The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s decision to stick with Henry Road west as the access point for the new development on the Trans-Canada Highway in Chemainus and not the TCH is questionable.
Just once, it would be nice to hear someone changed their mind about a decision, especially when the majority of people agree otherwise.
In this case, the developer, Henry Road west residents and the Municipality of North Cowichan all lobbied MoTI to choose the TCH option at Country Maples RV Resort instead of Henry Road west. But, of course, MoTI with all its power is not budging.
MoTI’s own letter from Michael Pearson, director of transportation for the Vancouver Island district, in response to North Cowichan’s query doesn’t sound too convincing. “From a network planning, operational and engineering perspective this opportunity for direct access to a local road and use of an existing signalized intersection for highway access appears to make the most sense.”
Appears? It certainly doesn’t appear that way to people directly impacted by this decision.
Driving the Trans Canada Highway from Nanaimo to Victoria puts it all in perspective. This portion of the highway is a mess because there was a refusal long ago to put in overpasses while continuing to slap up traffic lights.
The intersection at Henry Road and the TCH has a horrible accident record. And, yet, we’re going to run hundreds more cars through there when this development is complete.
Sure, it’s an inconvenience to drive in the wrong direction you want to go for several kilometres and then find a u-turn at the next intersection to go the other way. But isn’t that the theme of the TCH? Roads are blocked off in many places, requiring plenty of backtracking.
Having the Morgan Maples residents who eventually will live there merging onto the TCH at Country Maples where it’s an extended lane and then turn around down the road if they’re going in the other direction makes the most sense.
There is currently no access road from the development site to Henry Road. How is that a better option when it needs to go over sensitive terrain?
And then there’s the safety option, more cars on a narrow road, still over a considerable distance to reach the already dangerous TCH-Henry Road intersection.