Nova Scotia

Hammonds Plains Road ditch worries council candidate

District 13 council candidate Matt Whitman says a crumbling ditch on the Hammonds Plains Road is being ignored by the city council.
Council candidate Matt Whitman measures a section of Hammonds Plain Road where a ditch is crumbling within a metre of the road. (CBC)

One of the council candidates in Hammonds Plains has road rage, but it's not the kind prompted by bad drivers or stop-and-go traffic. Matt Whitman says a crumbling ditch on the Hammonds Plains Road is being ignored by city council. 

"Tomorrow morning the school buses will be driving by with our kids. It's about eight feet deep, the city knows about it," said Whitman while standing in the hole.

From the road, just his head was visible.

"This ditch is deadly...it's one of the scariest things I've seen on the Hammonds Plains Road." 

About 20,000 vehicles travel the road connecting Upper Tantallon to the Bedford Highway and Highway 103 every day.

At about six metres wide, Whitman said the Hammonds Plains Road is one of the narrowest streets in the area.

"My cul-de-sac is wider than this little road," he said.

District 13 candidate Matt Whitman (CBC)

About 2,400 residents signed a petition to fix the problem.

It's not the first time there's been complaints about the road.

Last year, about 60 residents marched along the road in a call to improve safety. In 2010, a daycare on the road argued the speed limit should be lowered to protect children.

"I won't let my children walk on the Hammonds Plains Road, I find the traffic goes too fast, it's just a very busy section of highway," said Wanda Bolivar, who lives in the area.

A 2011 report from the Greater Hammonds Plains Communities Association estimates 160 collisions happened on the road that year, and the association estimates there is an average of three collisions on the road a week, based on reported crashes.

Three deaths and 148 injuries have been reported on the Hammonds Plains Road since 2003, according to the association.

In May, an Halifax Regional Municipality staff report recommended a $4.3 million solution that would widen the road without encroaching on private property.

"The plan that's on the table isn't going to be a good enough fix," said Whitman.

Jake Bernard says as development grows, the need for a widened road does as well.

"Definitely, it has to be widened at some point or another. there's a lot of traffic going through here and there's a lot of subdivisions coming up around here so there will be even more traffic to come," Bernard said.

Whitman said he received a note from Mayor Peter Kelly saying council is aware of the ditch, but fiscal restraints and other priorities will make fixing it a challenge.

The city says pylons will be placed there Wednesday to indicate there's a road hazard, and engineers will also be sent to the site later this week to figure out a long-term fix.

What's the worst road in the HRM? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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