The Galloping Goose Regional Trail is a picturesque multi-use trail that runs through the heart of Colwood as it follows an old railway line on its 55km journey from Victoria to Sooke. The trail attracts more than 200,000 users each year. It is owned and maintained by the Capital Regional District.
A dangerous disconnection
There are safe and convenient crossings at every intersection on the 55km route. Except for one.
In Colwood, the trail is disconnected when it meets Wale Road and users must detour along Wale Road to the intersection at the Island Highway, cross at the light, then travel up the sidewalk on the Island Highway to reconnect with the trail. To make it more confusing, there is a small section of trail that cuts across from Wale Road to the Highway, but ends there dangerously, with no safe crossing in sight.
In the worst case scenario, trail users try to avoid this frustrating detour by dashing across 5 lanes of traffic on the Island Highway, risking their lives and the lives of drivers.
Despite this, the trail continues to be well used. So far in 2020, 25,251 pedestrians and cyclists have passed the automated counter on the Galloping Goose Regional Trail near Wale Road.
Establishing a safe and convenient crossing here would enhance safety and increase the number of trail users significantly.
Exploring grant opportunities
In 2016 the City of Colwood undertook a study to determine the feasibility and cost to construct a pedestrian and cyclist bridge over the Island Highway to create a seamless connection of the Galloping Goose Regional Trail. At that time the funding was not available. The City sought partnership with the Capital Regional District who owns the trail, and will continue to do so.
Colwood Council understands that this link is critical for increasing active transportation throughout the region.
The City has applied for funding to construct a Galloping Goose overpass as part of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. The application deadline was October 2020 and decisions are expected by the summer of 2021. This intake is designed to target projects starting in 2021 or 2022.
Both the City of Colwood Official Community Plan and the Transportation Master Plan identify the need to construct a Galloping Goose Overpass to repair this missing walking and cycling connection.
What the project would require
Preliminary design considerations suggest that an overpass would need to be 38 metres long and 4.1 metres wide. Two approach spans would be required to connect the bridge to the trail at either end. Railings, retaining walls, fencing, lighting, landscaping, movement of underground utilities and road works would all be part of the project.
Accessibility would be a key component of the plan to ensure the overpass meets the highest accessibility standards identified in the BC Active Transportation Design Guide 2019, and the BC Building Access Handbook.
In addition to enhancing safety and increasing active transportation options, the bridge has the potential to be a beautiful feature that welcomes people to Colwood's town centre. The City's goal would be to explore opportunities for collaboration with the Songhees, Scia'new and Esquimalt Nations to make the bridge a beautiful and meaningful symbol of partnership and reconciliation.
Estimated timeline and funding
Should the City be successful in obtaining a grant, the goal would be to start design work in March of 2021 with construction beginning in October of 2021 for approximately one year.
The gross project cost is estimated at $4.9M with the majority targeted to be covered by grant funding. The City's portion would be approximately $1.4M and would come from reserve funding the City has set aside for community amenities.
Sandra Russell, Communications Manager