A section of the Trans-Canada Highway between Charlottetown and the Confederation Bridge, not yet discussed by the P.E.I. government, is just as dangerous as one slated for major upgrades, CBC News has learned.
Despite vocal opposition, the government is going ahead with a $16-million realignment of the Trans-Canada at Bonshaw. Premier Robert Ghiz and Transportation Minister Robert Vessey have argued the primary reason for the realignment is safety.
Before settling on the Bonshaw section, the government discussed four sections of highway as possibilities for upgrades. Not included on that list was a short stretch in DeSable, which, in an analysis provided to the CBC News by the province, has a collision rate that is virtually the same as the eastern leg of the Bonshaw project, and higher than the western leg.
The provincial analysis that gives the Bonshaw section a higher collision rate includes accidents from outside the section to be realigned. Provincial chief engineer Steven Yeo defended the analysis.
"You're talking about a minor change to a number that wouldn't influence the decision on this project or any other alignment," said Yeo.
"If the accident occurred within the influence of the intersection [inside the area], at times those are incorporated into another [section of highway.]"
The province said there were other considerations besides collision rates that it took into account when making the decision about which section to improve, such as the grade of the highway and the sharpness of curves.