Highway 17 & Mount Newton Cross Road Transit Queue Jumper Lanes Project

Owner: British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure  |  District of Central Saanich, BC


About the Project

To facilitate and plan for RapidBus service on the main arterial Highway 17 (Hwy 17) connecting Greater Victoria and the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal, the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure completed an intersection improvement project at one key connection node at Mount Newton Cross Road to provide a much-needed transit stop and queue jumper lane.

The primary project objectives were to provide new, convenient, safe, and accessible regional transit (and future RapidBus) stops on Hwy 17 coupled with queue jump opportunities to ensure schedule and travel time reliability. The existing movements of cyclists, pedestrians, and bus passengers within the intersection had to be maintained and integrated with access to the new bus stops.

Hwy 17 is a high-speed access controlled National Highway System 4-lane divided highway connecting passenger and freight ferry terminals between Swartz Bay to the north and Greater Victoria to the south. Mount Newton Cross Road is a lower speed undivided 2-lane rural arterial with local bus service, providing connections to a regional hospital, adjacent municipalities, and extensive residential development.

Site challenges:

  • The signalized intersection has a large 18-degree geometrical skew. Because of this skew, drivers encounter excessive head rotation when entering the highway
  • The deceleration lanes on Hwy 17 were designed as direct tapers, providing insufficient room for buses to queue jump past traffic in the through lanes when backed up from the signals
  • An existing multi-use path structure spans Hwy 17 at the intersection. The structure’s supporting columns posed significant constraint on any highway widening and locating potential bus stops
  • An existing 1950s 1.5-m-diameter concrete culvert and headwall at toe of existing slope to be widened
  • Multiple overhead and underground utilities crossing Hwy 17 in shared utility corridors needing relocation or protection

The project was completed in February 2023.


The project scope was strictly to provide new transit stops on Hwy 17. Roadway capacity or other improvements were not part of the scope; capacity improvements would be the subject of a future project. The AtkinsRéalis team focused on a design solution with minimum removals and reconstruction requirements, and avoided scope creep.

Because the queue jumper lanes required widening of the existing signalized intersection and approach legs, designers optimized the location of existing and new features, such as auxiliary lanes, drainage appurtenances, crossing islands, and lighting and signal poles. The concrete columns of an existing pedestrian overpass added to the spatial constraint.

Widening the intersection affected and shortened the on/off ramp lengths. Coupled with the large intersection skew angle, the intersection geometrical design was a challenge. Widening the intersection also required the relocation or protection of existing underground and overhead utility crossings.

The 29-km-long Lochside Regional Trail runs through the project area. The trial is a popular commuting and recreation route for walkers, cyclists, and runners. Keeping the trail’s functionality was critical.


“To see and be seen”. AtkinsRéalis introduced “smart channel” islands to replace the “free-right” quadrant islands to improve drivers’ head turn angle when entering Hwy 17.
Buses’ ability to jump queues. Post-opening observations show buses were able to bypass peak hour queues as AtkinsRéalis successfully modelled and predicted the 95th percentile queue lengths.
Lochside Trail. AtkinsRéalis found opportunities to widen and straighten sections as part of the highway embankment widening work.

Service(s) Provided
-Geometric and Roadway Drainage Design
-Traffic engineering and intersection queuing analyses and modeling
-Coordinating Professional Engineer to lead a multi-disciplinary team
-Tender Documents and construction specifications
-General Engineering services during construction
-Record Drawings and project close out services

Project Team (Consultants)
PBX Engineering Ltd.
Binnie Construction Services Ltd.

Project Team (Contractors)
Milestone Equipment Contracting


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