High­way 101 twin­ning project an­nounced in Windsor

Pro­vin­cial govern­ment pledges to twin High­way 101 near Windsor

Valley Journal Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - BY CA­ROLE MOR­RIS-UNDERHILL WWW.HANTSJOURNAL.CA

The Nova Sco­tia govern­ment has an­nounced fund­ing that will help elim­i­nate the treach­er­ous bot­tle­neck area on High­way 101 near Windsor.

Trans­porta­tion min­is­ter Ge­off MacLel­lan an­nounced $390 mil­lion to twin and im­prove safety on Nova Sco­tia’s high­ways – with­out the use of tolls.

About 2,000 peo­ple par­tic­i­pated in a se­ries of public con­sul­ta­tions and MacLel­lan said it was clear Nova Sco­tians were not will­ing to pay tolls for the up­grades.

“We did not hear over­whelm­ing sup­port from Nova Sco­tians about pay­ing a toll for twinned high­ways, but they were clear we should act now to im­prove our roads,” said MacLel­lan, in a press re­lease.

“We will do that with an em­pha­sis on safety and, at the same time, we will cre­ate eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties for Nova Sco­tians.”

The project will see sec­tions of twinned 100-se­ries high­ways added to the ex­ist­ing high­way plan, with the cap­i­tal cost spread out over seven years.

A 9.5- kilo­me­tre sec­tion of High­way 101, from Three Mile Plains to Fal­mouth, in­clud­ing the Windsor cause­way, is one of the sec­tions se­lected for twin­ning. Hants West MLA Chuck Porter has been work­ing on see­ing the area twinned for a long time – al­most 11 years.

“Safety has al­ways been my first pri­or­ity. One thing about my lob­by­ing that has been con­sis­tent is it’s solely been around safety of our driv­ing public,” said Porter.

“It’s just one of those kinds of ar­eas that we’ve had is­sues in and the more we can do to keep our public safe, and re­duce col­li­sions, the bet­ter that is.”

A pos­i­tive de­ci­sion

Hantsport deputy fire chief Paul May­nard has seen first­hand the ben­e­fit of hav­ing a sec­tion of High­way 101 twinned – a near im­me­di­ate re­duc­tion in col­li­sions.

“(Three Mile Plains to Fal­mouth) is prob­a­bly the only piece of high­way in West Hants that’s re­ally still con­cern­ing for us in terms of high speed, high im­pact, high trauma-type calls,” said May­nard.

“You al­most dreaded, as a first re­spon­der, go­ing out to the high­way when it was a sin­gle lane be­cause you knew if it came in as a head-on col­li­sion, it’s go­ing to be a bad crash, 90 per cent of the time,” said May­nard. “Once it was di­vided, it was, ‘ OK, some­body put their ve­hi­cle off the road.’ Most peo­ple walk away from those sin­gle ve­hi­cle (ac­ci­dents).”

Hav­ing a di­vided high­way also makes re­spond­ing to calls safer for first re­spon­ders.

“Work­ing on a di­vided high­way is a lit­tle bit safer than work­ing on a two-lane where you have traf­fic try­ing to pull out to go around you and there’s on­com­ing traf­fic.”

Windsor deputy fire chief

Jamie Juteau agreed.

“We’re still go­ing to have ac­ci­dents but the scope of them should not be as se­vere as some of the ones we’ve been to on that stretch of road where it has not been twinned,” said Juteau.

While the fo­cus is of­ten on the cause­way sec­tion, Juteau said fire­fight­ers have re­sponded to a fair share of se­ri­ous ac­ci­dents through­out the stretch of un­twinned high­way, es­pe­cially near the in­dus­trial park exit.

“Any­where it’s not twinned is prob­lem­atic,” said Juteau.

“Af­ter some of the ac­ci­dents that I’ve been to over the years, I can’t wait to have it twinned. It’s go­ing to make it bet­ter for every­body and a lot safer for peo­ple to travel on. It’s a great thing that they’re do­ing this.”

Juteau be­lieves he twin­ning project will re­duce the amount of trauma on those who wit­ness ac­ci­dents.

“When you don’t have to sub­ject some­body to some­thing as bad as what we’ve seen out on the high­way, it’s a win for every­body – not just the fire­fight­ers, but the passersby who have to deal with it as well,” he said.

The other ar­eas are High­way 103, Tan­tallon to Hub­bards, 22 kilo­me­tres; High­way 104, Suther­lands River to Antigo­nish, in­clud­ing Bar­neys River, 38 kilo­me­tres; and con­struc­tion of the four-lane, di­vided Burn­side Con­nec­tor (High­way 107) be­tween Burn­side to Bed­ford, 8.7 kilo­me­tres.

The fund­ing also in­cludes $30 mil­lion for safety im­prove­ments on un-twinned sec­tions of high­way, in­clud­ing in­ter­change im­prove­ments, pass­ing lanes and turn­ing lanes. A safety study on High­way 107 from Burn­side to Musquodoboit will also be con­ducted.

The press re­lease says the prov­ince will be look­ing to ac­cess fed­eral cost-shared in­fra­struc­ture pro­grams and that the govern­ment has sub­mit­ted busi­ness cases to the fed­eral govern­ment for con­sid­er­a­tion.

“It’s a great news story. I’m very happy the govern­ment has com­mit­ted to this,” said May­nard. Cmor­ris-underhill@hantsjournal.ca

FILE

Traf­fic is di­verted around Windsor due to an ac­ci­dent in 2016. It’s hoped im­ages like this one be­come rarer now that a twin­ning project has been an­nounced.

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