SAANICH -- People will soon notice some big changes along Shelbourne Street as phase one of a three-phase project gets underway this summer.

Saanich has awarded an $8-million contract to Ralmax Contracting Ltd. for phase one of the Shelbourne Street Improvements Project (SSIP).

On March 9, Saanich council unanimously approved the tender to Ralmax, taking a major step forward in its process to improve infrastructure on Shelbourne Street. 

The entire project will be done in three phases and will stretch from North Dairy Road to Torquay Drive. The first phases will begin with improvements from Torquay Drive to Garnet Road near McKenzie Avenue.

The project includes replacement of underground utility infrastructure, pedestrian safety improvements, installation of new cycling facilities, transit infrastructure improvements and repaving the existing road surface.

There will also be a new traffic light installed at the intersection of Cedar Hill and Feltham roads.

“I think for Saanich residents, it’s a long time in coming," said Saanich mayor Fred Haynes. "It will significantly improve our active transportation opportunities and it’ll improve the livability along that street.”

The first phase will take 12 to 18 months to complete. Phase two will begin in 2021 and runs from Pear Street to North Dairy.

The third phase will focus on the segment in between, running from McKenzie Avenue to Pear Street. That phase is expected to begin in 2022.

The multiyear project is a result of much consultation with residents as part of the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan.