Nova Scotia

Resident says Popeyes traffic jam part of larger issues with Larry Uteck Boulevard

Cars lined up for hours after the opening of Atlantic Canada's first Popeyes restaurant in Bedford, with cars snaking through both of the Larry Uteck Boulevard roundabouts.

Vince Garnier believes a second access point is needed onto Kearney Lake Road

Drivers navigate one of the Larry Uteck roundabouts on March 30, 2022, the day Popeyes opened its doors. (Steve Lawrence/CBC)

A Bedford resident says an hours-long traffic jam on opening day of the first Popeyes restaurant in Atlantic Canada shows changes are needed to Larry Uteck Boulevard and surrounding roads.

On Wednesday, the American fried chicken chain opened for business on Hogan Court. Cars lined up for hours, and the lineup snaked through the two roundabouts on Larry Uteck.

Vince Garnier lives in the area and is a former director of the province's Occupational Health and Safety division. He worries about what would have happened if there was a fire or if someone needed an ambulance.

"There's absolutely no way that emergency vehicles could have gotten into that area," said Garnier.

CBC's Steve Lawrence recorded footage of an ambulance weaving its way through the lineup on Wednesday afternoon, eventually managing to pass. 

Garnier said he sees similar problems during snowstorms. He believes a second access point is needed onto Kearney Lake Road.

"That flow of traffic could go onto Kearney Lake Road and then straight onto the 102 and it wouldn't even have to go past any residential area," said Garnier.

Long lineups for the Popeyes drive-thru continued on its second day of business. The location on Hogan Court in Bedford is the chain's first in Atlantic Canada. (Robert Guertin/CBC)

Another lane coming

The local councillor said another solution is already being reviewed by the province.

"They're putting in another lane from the 102 to the roundabout, which should help on a normal commuter day," said Tim Outhit.

Outhit admitted it might not have alleviated the traffic for Popeyes' opening day, but likened it to the traffic jams at malls during the holidays.

"Do you build a whole new infrastructure for a few days a year or for a grand opening? You can't," said Outhit.

The councillor said increased transit in the area will also help.

However Garnier is not convinced an extra lane to a single access point is enough, especially with the ongoing construction of more apartment buildings and retail in the area.

He wants both levels of government to take a hard look at the public safety risks.

"The expansion is substantial, it far outpaces the infrastructure, and something needs to be done about that," said Garnier.

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