Halifax Harbour Bridges is installing digital signs as a safety precaution during dangerous driving times and to improve traffic flow on the MacKay Bridge.

The signs will communicate messages about construction, weather conditions, vehicle accidents, and other potential bridge delays.

“We have experienced challenges in trying to close the MacKay Bridge during high winds to high-sided vehicles, and that has put our people in dangerous positions in the worst conditions trying to stop trucks from getting on the bridge,” said Jon Eppell, an engineer with HHB.

The signs will be “strategically placed” in six locations on roads approaching the bridge. They include the Windsor and Kempt connector eastbound in Halifax, the Massachusetts Ave. connector prior to the Lady Hammond overpass, and on Victoria Rd. prior to Highway 111 in Dartmouth.

“These variable message signs will provide real time information to the travelling public about the conditions on the bridges,” said Steve Snider, general manager and CEO of HHB.

Eppell said during a normal workday, the bridge serves more than 100,000 cars. The signs will display information specific to the location to avoid congested traffic.

“If we don’t clear an incident on the bridge, it quickly becomes gridlock during peak periods,” Eppell explained. “These signs allow us to use that information to change peoples travel patterns that little bit that may make a big difference.”

Work on the project begins today and is being funded entirely by bridge toll money. Eppell said the total cost is about $2.5 million, with the signs expected to be fully functional by February.

Eppell said the HHB partnered with the Halifax Regional Municipality to ensure the signs could communicate more than bridge conditions.

“It’s something we saw as a benefit not just for the bridges but also for the region,” he said.

The signs will be purchased, managed and operated by the HHB.

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