Years of slow progress on Exit 32 may start to speed up

A dangerous stretch of highway in Yarmouth County near Argyle has missed out on targeted government funding for over six years, but may finally be closer to a much-needed fix. During Budget Estimates, MLA Colton LeBlanc again questioned the Minister of Transportation and Active Transit about the Exit 32 project.

“The Minister says it’s in the ‘top 3 of major highway projects we have on the drawing board presently’ so I’m encouraged,” says LeBlanc. “This has been a dangerous stretch for far too long. It’s overdue, but I was happy to hear there is progress.”

After prolonged calls for change from LeBlanc and others, the dangerous section of Highway 103 has seen little movement towards a fix. There are three exits in a short distance. One requires motorists to make a hard right turn off a two-lane, 100 km/h highway onto Nakile Drive that leads to a nursing home. The highway is frequently travelled by 18 wheelers that cannot brake as quickly.

“Making your way back onto Highway 103 from Nakile Drive isn’t much safer,” says LeBlanc.

Another turnoff connects to Highway 3 and leads to a P-12 school with lots of school bus traffic.

During Estimates last year, Minister Lloyd Hines stated that it was the Department’s intention to have this project enter the 2021-2022 Five-Year Plan. This past January, we learned that it was not included. The Department later reported that it did not have approval to add projects to the major construction envelope of projects or seek cost-sharing under a federal infrastructure program.

“Progress is being made and the design is nearing completion,” says LeBlanc. “Land is being purchased by the Province to allow the project to be completed”

LeBlanc pressed the Minister to specify the Department’s priority for this project who noted it is in the top 3 of major highway projects in the planning phase in Nova Scotia. The Minister said it was estimated that this project will have a $30 million price tag.

“I will continue to work with the Department on this important infrastructure project and ensure its completion,” says LeBlanc. “This section of highway continues to be a safety concern.”