Construction on the multi-use bridge is underway, so what's next?
Trail design comes next; Association to hold public meeting in January
Excavators and other heavy machinery began to appear at the edge of Highway 105 outside of Baddeck this past week as construction on the provincially-funded multi-use trail bridge got underway.
The Victoria County Trail Association (VCTA) formed last year to coordinate legal easements and trails to and from the bridge. Association Chair Paul Harvey is excited about the next phase of the project.
“We have a general idea where the trail that will hook up to the Trans Canada Trail will go, but I would think that we're going to be looking for walking trails and we're going to be looking for little cross country trails and things that can spur off it with some nice view planes. We'd like to see the community come behind this. We're looking for help here. We're looking for inspiration.”
Although the bridge was first proposed as a snowmobile overpass, Harvey says the new trail system holds much more potential for the local area.
“It's extremely important that people understand that it is a huge economic benefit to have this trail here and that is a multi-use trail. We'd like to get the snowshoers, the cross country skiers, the joggers, the walkers, the horseback riders, the bicyclists, the Atv-ers, and the snowmobilers. All those people sitting together to come with ideas as to how to make this trail the best for all us. Not only the best, but the safest and least offensive to anyone.”
According to Harvey, the key to making a multi-use trail work is to build trails wide enough for safe passing and enforce reasonable speed limits. He points to the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail in Inverness County as an example of a well-used and well-respected multi-use trail.
“I've experienced ATVS pulling over to the side, shutting their motors off and waiting for the horses to go by. They do the same with the walkers and the cyclists. The cyclists will get out of the way of the walkers.”
The VCTA met with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (DTIR) in late November to go over the project details and timeline. The present construction focuses on abutments on either side of the highway on which the bridge will eventually come to rest. The bridge itself is largely being built off-site and will be delivered in a few pieces in approximately fourteen weeks. If kept on schedule, the bridge would arrive around the end of February or beginning of March.
Harvey says financing for trail construction is still a work in progress, but the association has already made applications to Trails Nova Scotia. He adds that a number of recreational associations have funds for trail-building. He could see the province contributing to a system that leads to and from infrastructure that they have already invested in.
Above all else, Harvey said what’s needed now is passion, ideas and a willingness to help out. Look for a date and location of the next public meeting in the next issue of The Standard.