Site clearing and the construction of an access road to facilitate construction for Phase One of the Highway 101 limited access upgrade project near Digby will begin this September, Nova Scotia Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (TIR) staff informed local officials and residents this week.
Representatives from the Municipality of the District of Digby, the Town of Digby, the Municipality of Clare, the Village of Weymouth, and the Town of Yarmouth met with TIR planning team members on July 24, 2017 to receive a progress update on the project.
Clare-Digby MLA Gordon Wilson was also in attendance along with area residents from communities along the affected route.
The meeting was chaired by Highway 101 Task Force Chair Deputy Warden Linda Gregory of the Municipality of Digby.
The TIR team said that clearing would begin the first week of September and construction of the four kilometre controlled access corridor from Digby exit 26 towards a highway access at Marshalltown is still scheduled for opening by October of 2018.
The clearing and grubbing work will be done on the south side of Digby exit 26, large utility poles will be moved and new poles inserted. A roundabout will eventually be constructed at this location.
Task Force Chair and Deputy Warden Gregory expressed satisfaction that work was finally about to begin.
“As elected officials and as community groups we’ve been working towards this moment for a long time”, Gregory said, “And you can bet that I’ll be there to witness first hand when work begns in September”.
The entire section of uncompleted limited access highway between Digby and Weymouth is 26 kilometers, however funding has only been approved to date for Phase I, and MLA Wilson said that Phase two is not yet in the current five year plan but reported that he will be meeting with TIR staff over the summer to advocate for having Phase Two included, and that he will also be meeting with West Nova MP Colin Fraser to discuss federal funding participation.
“This is a great start but it’s just the beginning”, Wilson stated, “The objective is to get the entire section completed in a reasonable amount of time”.
The TIR representitives also reported on safety improvement measures for the existing section of the highway, saying that shoulder retrival has been done along with roadside brush cutting, and that additions to guard rails and installation of directional signs are planned for the summer. Plans are also inthe works to install flashing red and amber lights at the North Range Crossroad and French Road.
The Phase I work about to be started also includes plans for construction of a bridge across the highway to connect a multi use recreational trail and the tender for the structure will be out in two weeks.
Robert Hersey , the Heritage Advisor for the Municipality of Digby was also in attendance at the meeting and discussed plans to enhance property conditions around the site of the former Marshalltown Alms House, which is adjacent to the proposed roadway, including grass cutting and placement of a memorial sign to identify former grave sites.
Task Force Chair Gregory thanked the TIR representitives for their ongoing cooperation with progress schedule updates, and their due diligence with regard to community and environmental concerns.
Gregory added that, as always, she invites public enquiries and comments concerning the work, and she could be contacted at email@example.com.
MLA Gordon Wilson said that he would be willing to respond to public enquiries and comments as well , and could be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Task Force update meeting has tentatively been scheduled with TIR for mid-Fall.