Nova Scotia

New rail line between Halifax container terminals expected to slash truck traffic

The federal government's $47-million investment in transportation upgrades at the Port of Halifax will help reduce truck traffic in the city and make the Windsor Street Exchange more user friendly.

Realignment of Windsor Street Exchange will also improve traffic flow around Fairview Cove container terminal

The $47-million federal investment in improvements to the Port of Halifax, announced Sunday, includes a realignment of the Windsor Street Exchange. (Carolyn Ray/CBC)

Government and business leaders in Halifax are celebrating the federal government's $47-million investment in transportation upgrades at the Port of Halifax.

On Sunday, Transportation Minister Marc Garneau announced funding to realign the Bedford Highway through the Windsor Street Exchange and a new rail line connecting the south-end container facility with the one at Fairview Cove.

Paul MacKinnon, executive director for the Downtown Halifax Business Commission, said the new rail line will take hundreds of trucks off downtown streets.

"I mean it's been talked about for a long time, the sheer volume of trucks as we're trying to build a residential base and a tourist base," he said. "So it's very exciting to see that this change is being made."

The province, the Port Authority, CN Rail and the Halifax regional municipality will also be contributing to the projects, which could total between $90 and $100 million.

The new rail line between the Fairview Cove container terminal (shown) and the south-end terminal will cut down the numbers of trucks in the city's downtown. (CBC)

For Coun. Waye Mason, it's a chance for the municipality to make the Windsor Street Exchange more user friendly for everybody, not just trucks and cars.

"The idea is when it's redesigned, we'll be able to fit in bus lanes and AT (Active Transportation) trails," he said, "So it's a huge win on so many levels."

There are few details of what the realigned roadway will look like as design work is just beginning.

Construction is expected to begin in 2020. That would mean the realignment project for the Windsor Street Exchange will take place at the same time as the redevelopment of the Cogswell Street Interchange.

Mason believes it will all be worth it in the end.

"While undoubtedly there will be pain and discombobulation around traffic, the change will be so beneficial."