Building Burnside trail now could save HRM money
Halifax could save money on a new trail between Bedford and the Burnside Industrial Park if council agrees to the $1-million project now so the province can include it in the designs for a new highway.
The trail would run alongside the 107 extension the province is planning to build between Duke Street in Bedford and Akerley Boulevard in Burnside.
The municipality has already built a pedway bridge over the circumferential highway into Burnside — and soon will connect the bridge to a trail for walkers and cyclists up Burnside Drive as far as Akerley Boulevard.
Transportation officials in Halifax say partnering with the province to build the trail would save the city millions of dollars.
"There's certainly a high opportunity by constructing the trail along with the highway when the crews are in there, the design work is being done and the supervision is in place and the approvals are in place as well — so we are trying to take advantage of that opportunity," said David McCusker, manager of Traffic and Transportation Services for Halifax Regional Municipality.
Ken Reashor, HRM's transportation director, said it's an offer the city can't afford to pass up.
"There's significant benefit to us because if we had to do this ourselves — build the subgrade, do the design work and get all the permits — it would probably cost us, potentially, in the neighbourhood of $5 million."
McCusker agreed the savings would be significant.
"The cost would be substantially more. It would be a multiple of cost higher, particularly with the railway overpasses because we'd have to build a separate bridge, instead of adding a little bit of width to the bridges that are being built now."
On Wednesday, the city's transportation committee agreed with the request. However, regional council has to give the idea final approval.
"This is going to give people the opportunity to live in Bedford and bike to Burnside or vice versa. Five kilometres is not very long — a ten minute bike ride through the trail," said Counc. Darren Fisher. "It's going to be great, it's going to be excellent."
Officials say the $1 million isn't needed until 2013. If the project were approved, it would be the only trail developed in 2013 and other proposals would have to be delayed.