British Columbia provincial highway 17

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British Columbia provincial highway 17 is actually two separate highways, one on Vancouver Island, the other on the Lower Mainland. The two highways are joined together by a ferry link.

Contents

Vancouver Island section

The Island section of Highway 17 is known locally as the Patricia Bay Highway, and is the main artery through the Saanich peninsula. Highway 17 has had its present course through the area since 1960, when the B.C. Ferry terminal at Swartz Bay was completed. The "Pat Bay", as the Highway is known for short, is four lanes all the way from Victoria to Swartz Bay. The total length of the highway on the Island is 31 km.

Route details

In the south, Highway 17 begins at the intersection of Douglas Street and Blanshard Street in Victoria, just a few hundred metres north of the mile zero monument on Highway 1, although some maps show the highway starting at the intersection of Belleville and Oswego streets one block to the west of the provincial parliament/legislature buildings, and the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation's official records (http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/publications/eng_publications/geomet/lki/lki.htm) state that the highway only starts at Victoria's northern city limit.

From Douglas and Blanshard, The highway travels north for 3 km through the city of Victoria before leaving the city at Tolmie Avenue. 2 km north of Tolmie Avenue, Highway 17 turns into a 6 km-long freeway, with three interchanges. After the third interchange at Royal Oak Drive, Highway 17 turns into a regular undivided four-lane artery, and goes for 14 km through mostly farmland, until it reaches the town of Sidney. After exiting Sidney 3 km later, the Pat Bay once again becomes a freeway, with two more interchanges along its length, toward its northern terminus at the B.C. Ferry terminal at Swartz Bay another 3 km north.

Ferry route

At Swartz Bay, Highway 17 leaves Vancouver Island, and starts on a 44 km-long ferry route through the Southern Gulf Islands and the Strait of Georgia. The ferry route between Swartz Bay and the Mainland is the oldest and most heavily-used route in the B.C. Ferry system. After winding through the Gulf Islands, the route enters a small passage between Galiano and Mayne Islands, known as Active Pass. Active Pass is the midway point on the Highway 17 ferry route, but it is also hazardous, as it has historically been the site of two maritime collisions involving B.C. Ferry vessels, as well as one incident of a ferry running aground. Consequently, ferries going through Active Pass have to sound their whistles upon entering and leaving the passage, and must adhere to a lower speed limit while transiting through it.

After Active Pass, the Highway 17 ferry heads due northeast across the Strait of Georgia. Halfway across the Strait, the route actually enters water belonging to the United States. It then crosses the 49th parallel back into Canadian waters just before landing at the Tsawwassen ferry terminal.

Mainland section

On the mainland, Highway 17 is 14 km in length. Beginning at the Tsawwassen ferry terminal, Highway 17 proceeds northeast on a 3 km-long shallow-bank causeway. 3 km northeast after reaching landfall, Highway 17 reaches the intersection with 56th Street in Tsawwassen. Highway 17 then turns due north and reaches its junction with Ladner Trunk Road at Ladner, 6 km after 56th Street. 2 km north, Highway 17 finally terminates at the on-ramp to Highway 99.

Flag of British Columbia Provincial Highways of British Columbia British Columbia highway marker
1 1A 2 3 3A 3B 4 4A 5 5A 6 7
7A 7B 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
17A 18 19 19A 20 21 22 22A 23 24 26 27
28 29 31 31A 33 35 37 37A 39 41 43 49
52 77 91 91A 93 95 95A 97 97A 97B 97C 99
99A 101 395  
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