New VIU access month from completion

Crews work on the new Trans-Canada Highway access to Vancouver Island University. - Peter W. Rusland
Crews work on the new Trans-Canada Highway access to Vancouver Island University.
— image credit: Peter W. Rusland

University Way — the new access road to VIU and Cowichan Place from the Island Highway —  could open in about a month, weather permitting.

“There’s still some paving and water-main testing to do, and the (landscaped) splitter island to add, so you’ll only be able to turn right-in, right-out,” North Cowichan engineer John MacKay said of the $2.3-million project behind the Island Savings Centre.

“There will be no left turns in or out.”

About $200,000 of the total bill was paid by North Cowichan toward a now-completed roundabout in the education complex that formerly held the Cowichan Exhibition.

Complicated talks and land deals saw North Cowichan sell land to VIU and School District 79, then use some of that money for the roundabout, MacKay said.

Most costs for University Way are being shouldered by VIU and the school board, he explained.

“Phase two now is getting it out to the highway.”

Ultimately, the road will first reach a new Cowichan Secondary School, then VIU.

Provincial funding for a new Cow High is still at large.

VIU’s campus opened several months ago.

A sprawling parking lot is planned for a school-district land behind the skateboard park, MacKay said.

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