The relationship between overall traffic on the Halifax Bridges and the results of our pandemic response

By James Piercey

As COVID has been progressing for the last two years now, traffic volumes on the Halifax Harbour Bridges have been closely monitored.

When COVID first began, there were dips in traffic volumes with early lockdowns and health safety measures.

Following the declaration for state of emergency on March 11, 2020, traffic on the Halifax Harbour Bridges reduced to 55%.

Steven Proctor is the Communications Manager for Halifax Harbour Bridges, he says although as the measures were lifted and traffic began to rebound, it has not returned to pre-COVID levels.

“It’s hard to know whether that is because people are still travelling less as a reflection of concern about continuing high infection levels or it is a function of people establishing a work-from-home opportunity,” says Proctor.

In the past year, Halifax Harbour Bridges went from 10-15 days with 100,000 crossings a day in October, November, and early December to zero days in January.

In February of this year, traffic numbers increased to 81% of the pre-COVID levels with total crossings rising over 2 million. There was one day in February with over 100,000 crossings, to which Proctor says was a surprise.

“We are used to traffic that is over 100,000 a day,” he says, “so to see only one day in a month that crosses that threshold indicates that people are not back to a “normal” routine. Whether this represents “a new normal” remains to be seen”.

Proctor says with less traffic there is less congestion, and that Halifax Harbour Bridges will continue to do their part with keeping the bridges congestion free.

“We will continue to experiment with signage and clearing accidents more quickly, but in the longer term we plan to move to a next-generation tolling option that will remove the toll plazas, a choke point in the cross harbour transportation,” he says.

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