Many people in Bedford want a better route to work, but feel bad for the Halifax homeowners who are going to pay for it.
The city and province hosted two meetings this week to present the plans for a road widening project for Bayers Road and the Highway 102 corridor from Windsor Street to Fall River.
The first meeting on Wednesday night left concerned residents frustrated at a lack of answers.
“They gave a good technical presentation but they didn’t answer a lot of questions that the people had, like when this was going to happen,” said Matt Jobb who lives on Bayers Road.
Jobb is a civil engineer and he found the presentation too technical without answering how the project will directly affect his yard.
Construction is expected to take place in stages over 30 years, but Jobb said that’s no comfort.
“That doesn’t help us because no one’s going to be interested in buying a house if they know this is coming.”
He added a few residents of Chebucto Road attended the meeting and said they sympathized with Bayers Road residents.
The second meeting in Bedford Thursday was expected to go smoother. Bedford Coun. Tim Outhit said the project is of great interest to commuters there.
“It’s positive in the sense that we’re happy to get some of the truck traffic from Burnside and local traffic off the Dartmouth Road and off the Bedford Highway,” he said. “But I think there are going to be some people in Bedford who have some concerns about the folks on Bayers Road.”
Like the Bayers Road residents, Outhit said city councillors are also looking for some answers before the issue comes to a vote.
“I’m hopeful we’ll be able to reach some solution with reversing lanes, etc. so this project would be less severe,” he said. “This is no slam dunk, nothing has been decided yet.”
Road-widening green, says Barnet
The minister for Conserve Nova Scotia thinks widening Bayers Road will be good for the environment.
The plan has sparked opposition from residents and environmentalists who say it promotes car use over public transportation.
But Barry Barnet said new roads can sometimes have “tremendous benefit to the environment” because they decrease congestion and reduce idling.
“I think it’s the right approach,” said Barnet of the project. “We now need long-term planning. There are people that will be inconvenienced by this, but it is a very long-term approach.”
He said the widening needs to go hand in hand with green initiatives like investing in public transportation.
“At the end of the day it’s about doing both. Fixing the now problems and fixing the future problems in both public transportation and making the road network a better road network so that people aren’t stuck in traffic,” said Barnet.
– PAUL MCLEOD/METRO HALIFAX
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