Nova Scotia

Windsor Street Exchange to be overhauled in $47M Halifax port upgrade

The federal government is spending $47.5 million on two projects that it says will expand capacity at the Port of Halifax and improve the transportation of goods.

Construction will affect Windsor Street Exchange, Lady Hammond Road and the Bedford Highway

Liberal MP Andy Fillmore and Minister Marc Garneau announce two projects will receive major upgrades to benefit the Port of Halifax over the next few years. (Carolyn Ray/CBC)

A busy Halifax intersection that suffers chronic traffic problems is set to get a major overhaul as part of a multi-million dollar funding announcement made by Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau Sunday. 

The federal government is footing half the bill – $47.5 million – on two projects set to benefit the Port of Halifax.

That amount will be matched with money from Halifax Regional Municipality, the provincial government, The Port of Halifax, and CN Rail. 

"As you know, we have recently signed new trade agreements," Garneau said. "We are a country of traders, and that's why our ports are so important."

Windsor Street, rail line upgrades

The plan is to redevelop the Windsor Street exchange, the main access to the port, which is an intersection that is often the subject of grumbling by commuters.

Drivers will see the Bedford Highway realigned, upgrades to Lady Hammond Road, and new street lights. 

"The whole idea is to reduce that very, very serious bottleneck," Garneau said.

The Windsor Street exchange, which runs alongside the Fairview Cove Terminal, is often the source of traffic problems in the city. (Carolyn Ray/CBC)

The funding will also pay for a new rail connection between the South End Container Terminal and the Fairview Cove Container Terminal.

"The port will add rail tracks within its existing footprint and acquire four new rail mounted cranes to load and unload containers faster and more efficiently at both terminals."

Garneau estimates that will eliminate the need for about 75 per cent of the container trucks that currently drive on the peninsula, which will reduce noise and pollution. 

"It's also going to make the quality of life for people living in downtown Halifax a heck of a lot better. So it's a win win."

"Instead of trucks coming into the downtown core, they will actually be dropping off and picking up boxes at another point in the city, so closer to the Fairview Cove Container Terminal," said Karen Oldfield, the president and CEO of the Port of Halifax. 

She estimates there are approximately 500 container trucks a day in the city during peak hours. 

Planning starts immediately, Garneau said, but the public won't see "shovels on the ground" until next year. Garneau says it could take four years to complete the upgrades. "The precise schedule will come a little bit later on."

The federal government estimates the work will create 880 jobs to help with construction. 

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