Government today, July 14, released the independent study assessing the feasibility of twinning eight sections of Nova Scotia highways sooner using tolls.
CBCL Limited, a locally-based engineering firm, conducted the study. The full report is available at www.novascotia.ca/twinning.
The report ranks the feasibility of the eight sections based on the analysis of the following criteria:
— safety and the number of collisions
— cost versus projected revenue
— average traffic per day
— travel time and travel cost savings
— environmental concerns
— land acquisition
Government invests roughly $420 million each year to build and maintain roads in Nova Scotia. It would cost more than $2 billion to build the road infrastructure Nova Scotians have told government they want.
“Nova Scotians have told us they want better, safer highways, but twinned highways are very expensive,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Geoff MacLellan. “We committed to explore whether twinning could be feasible using an alternate funding method, such as tolling. We also committed to providing everyone with the same information so we could have an informed discussion.”
The study used benchmark toll amounts of six to ten cents per kilometre, based on results of a willingness-to-pay survey conducted by CBCL. The rates do not necessarily reflect what a toll rate would be, should Nova Scotians decide to proceed with tolling.
“I need to be very clear, government has not made a decision to move forward with twinning through tolling,” said Mr. MacLellan. “We now have the data that will provide the foundation for a discussion with Nova Scotians.”
The eight sections, a total of 301.2 kilometres, included in the study are:
— 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 at 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
This is phase one of the study. The next phase will refine cost estimates, package the financial data, and gather input from Nova Scotians. Government plans to consult widely with Nova Scotians about their views on tolling.