Government issued a request for proposals today, June 19, to conduct a provincewide tolling feasibility study to twin 100 series highways.
“Nova Scotians have said repeatedly they want safer highways through twinning,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Geoff MacLellan. “Given our fiscal situation and the extremely high cost of twinning highways, we are exploring the option of tolling through a feasibility study.
“Before any action is taken on tolling, residents will have their say. I want to be clear, government will not implement tolls unless Nova Scotians say they want it.”
Government’s intention to look at tolling as a way to twin 100 series highways sooner was announced April 28 during the release of the Highway 101, 103 and 104 safety studies.
The study will look at eight sections of series 100 highways to determine the feasibility of constructing toll highways, a total of 301.2 kilometres:
— Highway 101, Three Mile Plains to Falmouth, 9.5 km
— Highway 101, Hortonville to Coldbrook, 24.7 km
— Highway 103, Exit 5 at Tantallon to Exit 12 Bridgewater, 71 km
— Highway 104, Sutherlands River to Antigonish, 37.8 km
— Highway 104, Taylors Road to Aulds Cove, 38.4 km
— Highway 104, Port Hastings to Port Hawkesbury, 6.75 km
— Highway 104, St. Peter’s to Sydney 80 km
— Highway 107, Porters Lake to Duke Street, Bedford 33 km
Once the study is completed, the information will be brought to the public through a series of consultations, both in person and online, to allow all Nova Scotians to have their say.
“I recognize tolling is an issue that will impact anyone who drives our roads and one that certainly generates a lot of discussion around Nova Scotia dinner tables,” said Mr. MacLellan. “That’s why it’s so important that we provide accurate information people can use to make an informed decision. Once the study authors have the information together, everyone will have a chance to weigh in.”
The feasibility study request for proposals will differ slightly from others issued by government. The request will have the estimated cost of the study — $1.5 million — and will give prospective bidders a 14-day opportunity to provide feedback before the final request for proposals is posted. Based on the feedback, timing of the study or other technical aspects could change.
“This is unique study both in its size and scope. It’s essentially eight studies in one,” said Mr. MacLellan. “While the feasibility study will be expensive, the information we obtain from this study will be critical to giving Nova Scotians what they need to make a decision about whether or not they want tolls.
“If it’s decided tolls will not go ahead, the information from the study will still be very valuable to government for long-term highway planning.”
The report will be completed by end of April 2016. This will include public consultation and final report.
The request for proposals is posted on the government procurement site, http://novascotia.ca/tenders/tenders/tender-details.aspx?id=DRAFTRFP150619 .