Hwy. 101 safety report for Digby – Weymouth stretch due in February

Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier jriley@digbycourier.ca
Published on January 7, 2015

Digby district councilor Maritza Adams has been pushing for years to see a 100-series highway to go with the signs along Highway 1.

Jonathan Riley/ FILE photo

DIGBY - A report containing interim safety measures for the section of Hwy 101 between Digby and Weymouth is now due in early February.

A spokesperson with the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (NSDTIR) says the report will be made available to the public at that time.

The Joint Highway 101 Task Force, made up of local municipal representatives, announced in late September that the province was conducting a study on how to make the stretch of highway safer, while waiting for funding for a new highway.

Digby mayor Ben Cleveland says he hopes the province doesn’t waste any time implementing the recommendations of the interim safety report.

“It’s wonderful that they’ve announced this new construction but that is still a number of years away,” he said. “My concern is, if they have identified safety issues, then they should be addressed as soon as possible.”

The mayor said he hopes the report comes with timelines attached for addressing any safety concerns they identify.

Hwy 101 runs 310 kilometres from Sackville to Yarmouth and the 24 kilometres between Digby and Weymouth is the only stretch that doesn’t have controlled access.

It passes through several small communities with homes, stores, churches, fire halls and one school.

A month after the task force announced the interim safety report, the federal and provincial governments announced they had allocated a total of almost $17 million to build four kilometres of new, controlled access, highway between Digby and Marshalltown.

Nova Scotia will be responsible for $9.2 million, while the federal government will spend up to $7.5 million.

NSDTIR’s five-year highway improvement plan shows that construction work starting in 2017.

The Municipality of the District of Digby formed the Joint Highway 101 Task Force in the fall of 2012, with the Municipality of the District of Clare. The Town of Digby joined shortly after and the Town of Yarmouth joined this fall.

The task force, including Clare-Digby MLA Gordon Wilson, meets periodically with representatives of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal to check on progress on planning a new controlled access highway.

Upgrading the remaining 20 kilometres will cost another $110 million according to remarks from Wilson at the October funding announcement.