Highway twinning should include construction of Exit 28, says District One Councillor

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PICTOU, N.S. - County Council is supporting a request by a group of District One residents asking for a new access ramp on the soon-to-be twinned highway.

Council for the Municipality of Pictou County agreed during its December Property Services meeting to send a letter to the Nova Scotia Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Lloyd Hines as well as Central Nova MP Sean Fraser and local MLAs requesting that an access ramp be built between Sutherland’s River and Barney’s River.

Don Bulter Disrict 9

District One Coun. Don Butler said the new access ramp could be Exit 28 which currently doesn’t exist along the Trans Canada Highway although there are Exits 27 and 29.

“It is somewhat confusing to motorists as they drive down the present TCH and see Exit 27 in Sutherland’s River and Exit 29 in Barney’s River.  Where is Exit 28, they ask?” he said.

Butler said between Halifax and Barney’s River the exits are anywhere from 4.2 km to 9.5 km with the average being 6 km.  The only exception is Exit 18A, Mount Thom to Exit 19 Salt Springs/West River, which is 14 km.  The distance from Sutherland’s River to Barney’s River is 21.5 km.  This distance is 72 per cent longer than the average distance between all exits and 34 per cent longer than the longest distance of Exit 18, Mount Thom to Exit 19 Saltsprings/West River.

He said former TIR minister Geoff MacLellan is on record as saying that exit ramps should be constructed every four or five km on the TCH.

Butler said a group of citizens from the region have come together and requested the Exit 28 ramp be constructed that would service residents in Telford, Broadway, Meiklefield, Blue Mountain, Moose River, The Piedmont Valley and French River area of the county. 

“Obviously someone felt there was a need to put a ramp in Mount Thom to serve a very sparse population.  Just think about the number of people who would be positively affected in all of these communities,” he said.

Butler added that Broadway is in a unique physical location. Not only is it approximately half way between New Glasgow and Antigonish, but it is also halfway between Halifax and Sydney.  He said in the near future more people will be driving electric cars and Broadway would be an ideal location for electric charging stations and a ramp would open the door to commercial development.

“We are all aware of the great number of fatal accidents along this stretch of highway.  Hopefully, this will be greatly reduced with the twinning of the highway.  What we cannot control is the ever changing weather conditions in the area,” he said.

Butler said accessibility at Old Trunk 4 intersections is of utmost importance to provide faster access, not only for fire, ambulance, police, EMO, snow removal and maintenance by TIR, but also to make life easier for these rural residents and to help combat the depopulation of their rural area of our county.

“Now is the time for us to show our support to these residents,” he said.