This rendering shows where a major connector between the two Island Highways would be built, stretching from Willis Road to McPhedran Road at 2nd Avenue. The road would cut through undeveloped lands and part of the ERT.

New major highway connector in Campbell River to cost more than $30 million

The City of Campbell River has released the most recent cost estimate to build an inner-city connector road between the two Island Highways and it comes with a multi-million dollar price tag.

The project, which has been a community priority since the late 1990s, would be the only central route connecting the inland and ocean-side highways. The major arterial connector has been discussed by previous councils for years and in 2000 a concept that would involve connecting Willis Road to 2nd Avenue was approved and then designed in 2002.

But the project was put on hold in 2012 when the council of the day removed the project from the city’s budget due to failed grant applications and a lack of available financial opportunities. The city also has not acquired all of the land required for the project but had been actively doing this up until the project was shelved.

The current city council, however, recently requested an update from city staff on the potential connector and Drew Hadfield, the city’s transportation manager, reports that cost estimates have been reviewed and construction, if it were to take place between 2018 and 2020, is today estimated at $30.64 million.

That would include $17.21 million for phase one which would involve a new intersection at 2nd and McPhedran Road, a new roadway from McPhedran at 2nd Avenue to Petersen (running through undeveloped land and the ERT) to connect with Willis, as well as storm management ponds through Nunns Creek Park and engineering, financial and contract adminstration costs.

Phase two would cost a further $12.72 million and include upgrades to the roadway along Willis Road.

Hadfield said because the project has sat on the shelf for so long that a lot of work and money would be required to go into making the project a reality.

“It will require a full review of the project, which will include resurveying the corridor, confirming the design meets both current standards as well as supporting changes in zoning and development for the area,” said Hadfield, noting the 2002 design would have to be completely reviewed and updated.

“Some conditions have changed and the design needs to be reviewed and brought to current design standards for both road and drainage parts of the project.”

The design completed 15 years ago includes road widening, underground utilities and storm water system, cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, and an upgrade of existing water and sewer lines to accommodate future growth.

The catalyst for the connector is to improve the existing transportation networks in the community.

“The Willis Road Connector is planned to enhance the access not only to the new North Island Hospital but to provide a missing central connection between Highway 19 and Highway 19A in the community,” Hadfield said. “Currently, access to the hospital is limited by an indirect route (Willis/Petersen/Evergreen or Dogwood) that could result in some delays to emergency vehicles. In addition to that, there are limited services for pedestrians and cyclists along this existing route.