The provincial government last week approved starting appropriation proceedings to acquire 38 hectares near Timberlea, land needed to build Highway 113, a controversial proposal to connect existing Highways 102 and 103 with a new 10-kilometre long, four-lane divided highway laid through a fragile wilderness area west of Halifax (see map above).
Additionally, an environmental assessment for the project is scheduled to be completed in October, clearing the way for construction to begin.
"This [appropriation] is a long-term planning move," insists Transportation Department spokesperson Cathy MacIsaac. "We don't anticipate doing any road construction up there for several years."
In addition to the as-yet unannounced land costs, MacIsaac says 100-series highways cost about $3 million a kilometre, a cost that is sure to increase in coming years. Figure at least $50 million for Hwy 113. By comparison, the province last week dedicated a paltry $96,000 to a new $5.8-million MetroX express bus service to Timberlea. Fifty million dollars would more than fund the proposed fast ferry, the expansion of the MetroLink fleet, or all of the growth of the existing bus fleet envisioned in the city's five-year transit plan. —TB