They knew it would be bad, but drivers say construction of the new McKenzie interchange has turned their commute into more of a nightmare than expected.

Reduced speed limits of 50 kilometres an hour and changes to traffic flow on the Trans-Canada Highway have led to bottlenecks around the construction site.

During this week's work, which involves the installation of a new water main, two southbound lanes are being forced to detour in an S-shape – something that also seems to be slowing down vehicles.

That work is expected to be finished soon, but the interchange project isn't scheduled for completion for more than a year.

"I certainly hope it's worth it in the long haul," one woman stuck in traffic on her way in from Mill Bay told CTV News. "Way more congested. It's frustrating just because it's so much time to get down here."

Islanders also took to social media to share their thoughts on this week's highway gridlock, and while some bristled at the long commute others didn't have much sympathy.

Adding to the traffic headache for those driving into Victoria Tuesday was more roadwork on Douglas Street, where bus lane construction was being completed to meet a fall deadline.

The traffic pattern change on Highway 1 at McKenzie is expected to last until the weekend.

In August 2017, the government announced construction on the $85-million project was nearly a year behind schedule due to challenging conditions over the winter.

The original expected completion date of fall 2018 has been pushed back to summer 2019.

For the latest updates on traffic advisories, visits the Ministry of Transportation's DriveBC website.