Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone announces the completion of the $1.8 million improvement to Sayward Road from Highway 19 into the town itself at an event just north of Campbell River Nov. 26.

Sayward cycling lane ‘a huge safety improvement’

The road improvements from the Sayward junction into the town itself are complete, and bicyclists, joggers and all other road users are safer because of it, according to Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone.

Stone was in town recently to announce the beginning of planning for a passing lane “somewhere between Campbell River and the Sayward junction,” but was also celebrating the completion of the widening of Sayward road.

“Increasing cycling safety on Vancouver Island is a significant priority for our government,” Stone said. “I think we can all agree that cycling promotes health and fitness and it helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion.”

The $1.8-million project near Sayward widened the road by 1.2 metres for the entire 11 km section of Sayward Road from the highway into that community, “making it a very safe option now for cyclists,” Stone said.

Approximately 3 km of shoulder widening was also done along Highway 19 as part of the project, “which was part of about 10 km of shoulder widening we’ve been chipping away at over the last number of years,” Stone said.

That recent 3 km was the last stretch that needed to be done be done to complete the widening of the highway the entire distance from Campbell River and Sayward, Stone said.

Vancouver Island has received the bulk of the provincial funding for cycling improvements, Stone said, citing “another $1.4 million of additional cycling investments on top of the 1.8 million that we did here.”

“It is a huge safety improvement for walkers, joggers and bike riders,” confirmed Sayward Deputy Mayor Norm Kirschner, expressing his thanks to the government for their partnership in the project.

And it’s only the beginning of a grand plan for the province, according to Stone.

“Through B.C. on the Move (the government’s 10-year transportation plan), the government will invest $18 million over the next three years to partner with communities to build new bike lanes and trails throughout B.C.

“The program will also widen shoulders, double the frequency of sweeping and implement safety improvements on provincial highways in areas with a high volume of cyclists.

“We need to make sure that cyclists have a safe opportunity to actually get on a bike and know they can get from A to B in one piece.”