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Highway upgrades on the Trans-Canada Highway near Langford are nearing completion, with an entirely new northbound lane now open to traffic between the Leigh Road interchange and West Shore Parkway.

Previously, this section of Highway 1 was just three lanes, with two heading southbound and one heading northbound.

Now, a second northbound lane has opened on the highway, which leads into the Goldstream Provincial Park area.

“The opening of the new second northbound lane will eliminate the existing northbound highway through lane merge at Leigh Road,” the Ministry of Transportation said in a release Thursday.

“The two northbound highway through lanes now merge north of the West Shore Parkway traffic lights,” said the province.

While the opening of the new lane marks a milestone in the project, final construction work is expected to continue for several weeks.

During this time, the speed limit in the area will be 60 km/h as per standard highway construction speed zones. Once construction is complete, the speed limit will be raised to 90 km/h between Millstream Road and West Shore Parkway.

The entire highway upgrade project included the installation of concrete median barriers, improved sightlines and new roadside protections.

Construction began in September 2019 at a cost of approximately $9.1 million.

The province says that highway upgrades for this stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway began after the community voiced concern following a history of fatal crashes in the area.

“There were too many accidents occurring on this stretch of road and our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones,” said Claire Trevena, former B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, in a release on July 29.

Trevena had previously announced that she was not running for re-election in the recent provincial election.