Weymouth part of ATV pilot program
Province finally launching off-highway vehicle pilot in six communities
Nova Scotia is launching a pilot project, effective now, in six communities to enhance trail connections for off-highway vehicles and Weymouth, Digby County is one of them.
The pilot enables off-highway vehicles to use the shoulders of roadways, and the roadway itself where necessary, to safely travel in select areas from one trail to another, or to access services.
“This three-year pilot will enhance trail connections and associated off season tourism opportunities while providing us with an opportunity for further study,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Lloyd Hines in a media release. “The locations for this pilot were selected weighing factors such as trail connections, traffic volumes and road speed.”
Only registered, licensed and insured off-highway vehicles can operate on the shoulder, or the roadway, in these six pilot areas as long as the operator has a valid driver’s licence. Drivers holding a learner’s licence are not permitted to participate. No passenger on one of the vehicles operating in the pilot area can be younger than nine years old.
When operating in pilot areas, the off-highway vehicles will be limited to speeds of no more than 25 km/h. The vehicles will only be permitted to travel in pilot areas from the hours of one half hour after sunrise to one half hour before dusk.
In addition to Trunk 1 in Weymouth, the other five communities chosen for the pilot are: Porters Lake, Halifax Regional Municipality; New Germany, Lunenburg County; Walton, Hants County; Sherbrooke, Guysborough County and Gabarus, Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
“We’re pleased the government has fulfilled its commitment to advance this project,” said Barry Barnet, executive director of the ATV Association of Nova Scotia. “This will go a long way to support our work of building an interconnected trail network across Nova Scotia and spreading the message of safe, responsible off-highway vehicle use.”
In April 2017 the province had announced that Weymouth was one of nine communities being considered for a new pilot project to allow offhighway vehicles access to certain highway stretches linking trails together.
At the time of that announcement Kevin Lombard, president of Sou’west Nova ATV Association and Zone 1 director and liaison for the ATV Association of Nova Scotia, had said they were thrilled by the news.
“This is something we’ve been working towards for a very long time,” he had said at that time. “This news will make Digby
County extremely happy.”
Lombard explained how many ATV drivers were forced to illegally drive on the highway to reach areas of trails that weren’t connected, saying the association had been pushing for highway access on certain designated trails for some time.
In the time since the initial pilot announcement the association waited eagerly for the pilot project to get off the ground. The delay in implementing it dealt with the fact that more details were being ironed out, such as rules of the road, speed limits, safety, enforcement, etc.