TRURO – Federal funding is being sought towards the potential development of an interchange in Hilden.
During a Truro town council meeting on Monday, Ron Smith, executive director of the Colchester Regional Development Agency (CoRDA), made a presentation to council requesting the town apply for federal funding towards an interchange in Hilden with the goal of reducing traffic congestion and rerouting truck traffic from Highway 102, through McClures Mills and into the Truro industrial park.
“The success of the Robie Street roundabout has made a difference,” in many people’s opinions, said Smith.
There are three options for a proposed new interchange from Highway 102 that would intersect at Highway 2 in Hilden. The proposals range from $25.7 million to $32 million.
All three designs involve the installation of exit and on ramps on Highway 102 between Brookfield and Millbrook, with two routes crossing Highway 2 just north of Jacqueline Court and measuring three kilometres. A third plan at 3.5 km sees the interchange cross Highway 2 south of Jaqueline Court before making its way toward the Truro Business Park, where all three link up with Industrial Avenue. An overpass would have to be constructed over Highway 2 for two of the three plans with a third incorporating a roundabout. All three require overpasses over the rail line between Highway 102 and Highway 2. Smith said a roundabout would cost about $6 million less than an overpass.
Andrew MacKinnon, Truro’s director of public works, said all options are logistically possible.
“The overpass would be the optimum (choice) but there’s no reason the (others) won’t help,” said MacKinnon.
Smith said the time to move the proposal forward “is vital” especially with the province’s shipbuilding contract in Halifax and the continued need for “better access” to Truro’s industrial park. In addition, Smith said, Cumberland Colchester Musquodboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong has indicated potential federal funding applications would only be available until December.
“We all know congestion is an issue from McClures Mills,” said Smith, adding the project has been discussed for five years and could take two years from start to finish once everything is in place.
Councillors were unanimously in favour of requesting federal funding. If the money didn’t come, Smith said, it could result in a one-third payment between the town, county and Millbrook.
Truro Mayor Bill Mills said the project would have numerous benefits.
“There’s an opportunity to develop land and up to 2,000 jobs over a 20-year period could happen,” Mills said. “The town has been looking for an alternate route for truck traffic for a long time.”
“Everyone complained about the Robie Street roundabout but we’ve all seen the benefits,” added Coun. Raymond Tynes.
The issue came to the forefront in 2008 when a traffic improvement study was initiated. It was followed up with a feasibility study in 2011.