Wentworth residents not convinced that narrower is better

Staff ~ The Truro Daily News
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WENTWORTH - While the province says it maintains bike lanes on both sides of the highway through the Wentworth Valley, area residents don't feel narrower means safer.
Transportation Minister Bill Estabrooks was given an earful by close to 100 people who crowded into the community's recreation centre last night to express concerns with the province's plan to reduce the width of the highway 12.4 metres to nine metres.
"I'm very concerned with what's going to happen this winter when the Cobequid Pass closes and traffic is sent down through here. You have to live here to know what the situation is when that highway is closed and the traffic is sent through the valley," Sandra Mayne said during the meeting.
"We're busy enough even when the Pass is not closed. We're going to have some major problems here this winter with the lanes being
narrowed and the shoulders being narrowed."
The province just completed the first year of a multi-year paving project that will see the road repaved from Mahoney's Corner over Folly Mountain.
It's the first major work on the highway since the Cobequid Pass opened in 1997.
Bill Talbot, the department's northern zone director, said the highway is being built above the standards of normal trunk highways because the department realizes the road will be used as an alternate route when the 44-km toll highway is closed. He also said highways are no longer built as wide as they were before.
Still, Connor Scallion said a narrower road is going to lead to more accidents.
"It would be fair to say I use the shoulder of this road quite a bit whether on my bike or on my tractor and I certainly feel I need a wider shoulder," he said.
"I've been there with salt trucks going by and there's not a lot of room."
Colchester County Mayor Bob Taylor is concerned the highway could resemble secondary roads in his county.
"It's a safety issue no matter how you look at it because you have quite a few trucks hauling salt and aggregate from the quarry," he said. "I know on Highway 2 to Parrsboro and Highway 311 to Tatamagouche trucks are practically clipping mirrors because there isn't enough room."
Joanne Craib of the North Nova Forest Owners Co-operative Ltd. can't understand how the province would narrow the width of the road considering the amount of truck traffic using it.
"It is a safety issue. You say you're building it narrower doesn't mean you're building it safer," she said.

Organizations: North Nova Forest Owners

Geographic location: Wentworth Valley, Folly Mountain, Colchester County Parrsboro

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Recent comments

  • Robert
    January 18, 2010 - 09:43

    I disagree that narrower roads will contribute to more accidents. I'm an urban planner, and study cities. Narrower lanes make the driver more attentive to the road, and in turn create safer spaces. They also cause users to slow down, another way to maintain safety. North American roads are the widest in the world, excessively wide. If drivers need to slow down when there is someone else approaching them, then this is a good thing.