Busy Bedford Highway can handle 5 new developments: study

A new study for the city has concluded that busy Bedford Highway can accommodate five massive new housing projects — if Bayers Road is widened.

Bayers Road needs widening; some traffic would move to Highway 102

A new study for the city has concluded that busy Bedford Highway can accommodate five massive new housing projects — if Bayers Road is widened.

Two years ago there was such fear of traffic congestion that Halifax Regional Municipality slapped a development moratorium on the Bedford Highway corridor.

That stalled five projects in Bedford, Clayton Park and Fairview that were set to add between 3,700 and 7,400 housing units and up to 15,000 people.

But on Thursday a city council committee allowed Southwest Properties out of the moratorium.

That means the 1,800 unit Motherhouse project at Mount Saint Vincent University can move onto the next stage. Developers hope to break ground next spring.

The four others remain on hold, but that could change with this long awaited traffic analysis.

“We found that quite a bit of it the traffic on the Bedford Highway would now be redirected to Highway 102 corridor and that left room for added volumes from these developments," said Dave McCusker, a planning manager with HRM.

The study eyes a handful of transportation improvements, but the future key to accommodating the new developments is to widen Bayers Road.

Not everyone is convinced, however, and Bedford-Wentworth Councillor Tim Outhit says its too early green light the other projects.

“I don’t accept the findings from the report,” he said.

“I don't believe that we can take a number of these large scale projects — Paper Mill, Bedford waterfront, etc. — until such time as we decide how we are going to move people.”

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