One of recommendations following last Novembers storm on the Cobequid Pass
COBEQUID PASS - Eight months after a consultant recommended improving it as a bypass road during times of emergency, the province has called tenders to fix part of the former Trans-Canada Highway through the Wentworth Valley.
Eight km. of Trunk 4 from the intersection of Route 368 easterly toward the Swallow Road in Cumberland County will be completed before the end of October. The announcement Wednesday was one of seven tenders called with an estimated value of almost $12 million.
"This is really good news because that road has been getting so bad that it's rough to drive on and nearly impossible to walk along," Wentworth resident and county deputy warden Kathy Redmond said upon learning the news.
"The really bad part is over Folly Mountain, but this is a good start.
Hopefully they'll get the rest of it done next year."
Following an early snowstorm last November that closed the Cobequid Pass for several hours, consultants Opus International recommended the road through the valley be better maintained for use as an alternate highway when the toll road is closed because of an accident or other emergency.
The tender calls for the pulverization, cold planing and repaving of the section of highway.
At the time, Cumberland South MLA Murray Scott, who was also transportation minister, promised to have the road through the valley fixed up and Wednesday's announcement fulfills that pledge.
"I'm happy to see the department follow through with that commitment," Scott said. "It's not only good from a safety point of view, but it's good for local traffic as well."
Scott said about 20 km. of the road from the Lady Wentworth over the mountain needs to be repaved and he's hoping the rest will be done either next year or over a couple of years.
Since the 43-km Cobequid Pass opened in 1997, the highway through the valley has been allowed to deteriorate. This tender represents the first significant investment in the highway in over a decade.
Redmond said that while she's pleased to see the highway work announced, she still plans to lobby for the speed limit to be adjusted back to the original 100 km/h over Folly Mountain.
The speed limit through the valley was reduced as part of the province's agreement with the highway corporation and can only be changed if both parties agree.
Other recommendations following the storm that stranded about 1,500 motorists on the highway for more than 12 hours included overhead electronic signage and mobilizing winter maintenance by Nov. 1.