The underpass connects suburban Clayton Park to the big box land of Bayers Lake Industrial Park, via what’s now a cul-de-sac next to the Empire Imax theatre. But the $15.5 doesn’t cover needed intersection improvements at Washmill Court and Chain Lake Boulevard, which will likely cost millions more. Those costs are put off to some distant future date; in the meanwhile, the intersection will become its own sort of post-apocalyptic traffic hell until the money is found---that is, the underpass project, supposedly built to improve traffic flow in the BLIP, will actually make traffic worse.
The staff report recommending the new expenditure is a text-book example of dissembling bureaucracy run amok. Almost $6 million of the underpass costs are shuffled off into a magic “business park reserve fund,” which staff then implies is somehow not HRM money, but of course city money is city money, no matter how much cover-your-ass bureaucrats want to pretend otherwise.
In any event, council approved the new expenditure on a 18-3 vote, and the underpass will be completed this summer.