Road sections such as this on Sooke Road near Dover Street are crumbling away following a rough winter. (Octavian Lacatusu/Sooke News Mirror)

Major revamp planned for Sooke roads

Six priority arteries in the town core are chosen for complete reconstruction

The District of Sooke is pushing forward with its much-needed road repair plans.

A report, presented to council last week, highlights six roads in Sooke that “desperately need repair,” mostly collector roads that connect large residential neighborhoods to arterial roads: Beaton Road, Pyrite Drive, Quartz Drive, Dufour Road, Wright Road, French Road North, Winfield Road.

They also function as critical transit and school bus routes, raising their importance, said Rob Howatt, the district’s director of development services.

“Traffic volumes have increased steadily with the build-up of subdivisions along Maple Avenue North, and the 360-metre section of Beaton Road is failing rapidly,” Howatt said in the report, adding there is extensive “alligator cracking” along the entire length of road, from the edge of new pavement just east of the intersection with French Road North.

Not far off is Pyrite Drive, which sees a similar amount of traffic and also serves as a bus route; cracking from shoulder to shoulder all along its 770-metre length from Grant Road to Quartz Drive is self-evident, thanks to its potential to rattle a vehicle’s suspension to pieces.

Though not to the point of crumbling apart Howatt pointed out French Road North is in “variable” shape, with conditions worsening as it approaches Otter Point Road down the steep incline.

Despite some public protest, some other roads (Charters and Sooke River and Water Street) were exempted from the priority list as the repairs require major drainage enhancements before rebuilding them, to rectify their constant flooding problems.

Regardless, the idea is to get going on the roadwork as soon as possible, said Mayor Maja Tait.

“We really need to get going with rehabillitating some of these roads this year … let’s get all the quotes going, we’re not the only community putting work like this in the queue,” Tait said, adding that while Charters and others didn’t make the list, focus should remain on highly-travelled roads where people depend on to get to work.

The upcoming Pavement Condition Assessment will help staff plan an asset maintenance program for 2018 and beyond to deal with such issues, Howatt said.

“It is staff’s opinion, however, that it is most prudent to deal with the district’s failed connector roads immediately, before they fail completely and require expensive emergency repairs.”

Sooke News Mirror

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