Highway roadwork near Halifax airport will take longer than expected
Regular drivers of Highway 102 say construction is compounding speeding problems
Roadwork along Highway 102 near Halifax Stanfield International Airport will take longer than expected due to additional repairs needed to the overpass bridge at Exit 6.
The work — which started in late March — was originally scheduled to be completed by the end of May. But Nova Scotia's Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal confirmed Tuesday it has pushed back the completion date to at least mid-June, and maybe later.
Crews are working on a structural steel repair and coating project for the superstructure of the overpass bridge. The department said it's the type of maintenance done every 20 to 30 years.
Exacerbating speeding problems
The news isn't what drivers who use the road regularly wanted to hear. They say the work, which has led to lane reductions and detours, has exacerbated problems with speeding drivers.
"It's just people not paying attention," said Paula Gilby, a Rawdon, N.S., resident who takes the highway to get to Halifax.
Last Friday, Gilby allowed her daughter, who has a learner's licence, to drive her car from Lower Sackville to Elmsdale.
Once they got to the stretch of road where the lane was reduced and the speed was lowered to 80 kilometres per hour, another driver got dangerously close.
"My daughter actually saw him coming and she kind of spooked knowing that he wasn't going to get stopped," Gilby said. "He had to swerve around the flashing sign and he ended up hitting two of the large orange barrels to get stopped.
"Luckily he didn't hit anyone and didn't cause any other accidents," she added.
Gilby said she has written to the provincial Transportation Department to share her concerns. She suggested more signs leading up to the work area could be helpful.
But she said even prior to the construction, there had been speeding problems on Highway 102.
"I think people forget that it's 110 km/h through there. A lot of speeding goes on through there — especially on that airport hill," she said.
'People fly by me'
Tammy Richardson drives the highway twice a day, five times a week, for work. She said more police are needed along that stretch of road to catch the speeders.
"People fly by me like I'm sitting still," said Richardson. "It says 'no passing' and people are passing, flying by me. People need to obey construction zones."
Paula Nippard, a Lantz resident, said she drives the highway every week. She said she doesn't think the signs leading up to the roadwork are the problem, but drivers need to pay closer attention to the rules of the road.
"A couple of times last week I had a person pass me just before the airport exit very quickly and then cut in front of me to get into the airport exit," Nippard said. "And I don't quite get that. If you're going into that exit, it's only going to take three seconds longer."
Nippard said she is concerned for the crews out doing the roadwork. "There's people who don't have the protection of a vehicle, they're working inside the barriers and nobody seems to understand [they] could kill somebody to save myself a minute or two ... and it's a little frightening."
Speed complaints acknowledged
In a statement to CBC News, the Transportation Department said speed was a concern for workers on site.
"Crews did report traffic moving faster than they would like through the site at the beginning of the project, and staff worked with law enforcement to help correct that," said Brian Taylor, a spokesperson for the department.
"Since then, staff says complaints from the public and the crew around speed have been minimal."
Since April 1, RCMP reported one car crash occurred near the construction zone. In that instance on May 18, police said a white semi-trailer truck collided with a car and caused the car to spin out of control and slam into the centre cement median.
In addition to that crash, there were four other collisions reported near the site, but police said three were weather-related and one was the result of the driver having a medical emergency.