The province is looking to have a new section of Highway 101 in Digby County open to traffic by the end of the summer.
Development of the new Digby-to-Marshalltown corridor – a four-kilometre stretch – was hampered last year by wet weather.
The project also includes the construction of a roundabout at Exit 26 (the Digby exit).
“The project experienced some delays due to heavy rainfall in the fall,” said Marla MacInnis, a spokesperson for Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (TIR). “We anticipate that paving work will be complete and the road and roundabout will be opened to traffic by the end of summer 2019.”
In past descriptions about the project the cost of the project was said to be around $16.5 million, which was being cost shared between the federal and provincial governments.
The Digby-to-Marshalltown corridor is the first phase of the future Highway 101 controlled-access corridor from Digby, at Exit 26, to Weymouth North, at Exit 27 – which represents a total distance of 26 km. TIR notes this is the only part of the 300-km-long Highway 101 that has yet to be upgraded to a 100-series controlled-access standard.
The new Digby-to-Marshalltown corridor will directly connect Digby with the rural community of Marshalltown, TIR says, and the new roadway will be classified as a controlled-access freeway with a posted speed of 100 km/hour.
The current section of highway between Digby and Marshalltown is classified as a major arterial highway with a posted speed of 90 km/hr. This section includes intersections with local roadways and many driveways.
“These points of access slow traffic flow,” TIR says on its website, adding the “mix of local and through traffic encountered on Highway 101 impedes the efficient movement of goods and people ... Bypassing the existing Highway 101 will separate high-speed through traffic from slower-speed local traffic, thus decreasing travel times and increasing safety.”
Planning for this new section of highway started in 1992. Preparatory work included an environmental assessment report, which was completed in 2000, with updates in 2003 and 2016. Topographical information was collected in 2007 and 2015. There also were public consultations in 1992 and ’99.
“Since 1999, the department has conducted numerous meetings with local residents, stakeholders and public representatives regarding the project,” TIR says.