To the editor,
When you drove the untwinned stretch of Highway 103 between Timberlea and Tantallon prior to last year, you went down the deadliest stretch of highway in Nova Scotia. Riddled with hundreds of accidents and bloodied with death, it destroyed hundreds of peoples' lives. Last year it was twinned. Since that time, things have changed. A massive reduction in accidents, zero head-on collisions, and I have yet to find a recorded death (not to say one doesn't exist). It is far from the "hamburger alley" police once described it as.
Travelling that highway are transport trucks (rail lines were removed in the late '80s), buses, heavy equipment and vehicles—
1,400 per hour. Certainly traffic has increased as a result of disappeared rail lines and decreased bus service. But the fact is, the highway was never finished. It was never brought up to that 30-year-old standard. Today, if the remaining highway was twinned, there would not be less traffic; it would stay the same or increase. Which, yes, increases greenhouse gases.
Tim Bousquet (in "Dual nature," Nov. 22) and Kyle Shaw (in last week's "House rules" editorial) speak against twinning the 103. I am, however, an advocate for twinning from Tantallon to Bridgewater, and upgrading from Bridgewater to Liverpool. (Plans are already in the works to upgrade remaining portions.)
If you have ever travelled this highway, and it's likely you have in a vehicle besides a bus, you understand why. On an average day, 1,200 motorized bullets scream at you head-on every hour. Those who have survived being struck by over a tonne of steel often live with lifelong injuries which can ruin any life they had.
It's a tough spot for me, as a vocal advocate of saving our environment. I understand vehicles contribute a lot of CO2. However, the reason we are trying to save the environment is so we can survive on earth. If we have an unsafe highway which will potentially kill or disable us, what's the point? If we are saying a highway isn't a priority, what are we saying to people who live in our rural communities? Those same people must come to Halifax to use services unavailable in their communities, and there are no viable and convenient options except a small vehicle.
Until then, I remain committed to the upgrade of Highway 103, which has claimed at least 11 lives and 27 injuries this year, mostly between exits three and 12.
To support this cause I invite you to visit www.highway103.ca and sign an ever-growing petition. I also urge you to drive safely! I'd say put more people in your car, but that increases their chances of death or injury until upgrades are completed. Until then, drive wiser!
By Tim S. Conrad