Going the Distance: Province says no to Council's request for new Exit 28 interchange

BROADWAY, NS –   Highway twinning in Pictou East will not include a new Exit 28 interchange for Broadway residents.

The Municipality of Pictou County recently wrote the province asking it to consider a new interchange in the Broadway area because of the current distance between Trans Canada Highway Exits 27 and 29.  It added the new interchange could be labelled Exit 28 since one does not currently exist.

Don Bulter Disrict 10District One Coun. Don Butler said during a February meeting that 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.

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.

In response to Council’s request, Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Lloyd Hines said intersections are based on several factors including traffic demand, access management principles and benefit-cost analysis. The department must also balance the need with other planned interchanges and priorities across the province.

“Staff has indicated the average traffic volumes along Trunk 4 between Sutherlands River and Barney’s River are quite low and potential travel time savings, if a new interchange near Broadway was to be constructed, have been calculated to be in the range of three to five minutes.  Based on this low traffic demand, moderate time savings and the estimated cost of a new interchange, staff has advised that an interchange in the Broadway area is not recommended at this time. However, that does not preclude one from being considered in the future,” said Hines.

He added the new interchange at Barney’s River (Exit 29) will be located about 2kms west of the existing intersection, moving it closer to the Broadway and Sutherlands River areas.  He said this results in future interchange spacing of about 18 kms between Sutherlands River (Exit 27A)  and Barney’s River (Exit 29).

“This is not uncommon when compared with other interchanges on the 100-series highways in rural areas of the province, where spacing can range from 15 to 25 km,” Hines said.

Coun. Bulter said this isn’t the answer residents in the area were hoping for, adding the province seems to minimize the distance between Exit 27 and 29.

“The community has been working strongly to drum up community support and has online petitions,” he said. “They will continue to work towards a better settlement than this.”