Nova Scotia's 100 series highways mostly cleared
Focus turns to widening roads and shrinking snowbanks
Nova Scotia will stand by to help Halifax — or any other municipality — dig out from under the monster storms that overwhelmed the province this week.
Geoff MacLellan, the minister for transportation, drove to the capital from his Glace Bay riding Wednesday night and said the main roads look good.
"I can say first hand the roads, while snow covered, were being plowed consistently. The salt was out," he said. "We’re looking in pretty good shape on the 100 series of highways. Now we’re focusing on the secondary roads and those arteries in rural communities. And of course the residential roads that are part of our inventory."
He said clearing downtown Halifax is essential for the province’s economy.
"I phoned Mayor Mike Savage to offer our services," he said. "The challenge in downtown Halifax is enormous."
MacLellan said the "unprecedented" snowfall meant crews worked around the clock, around the province, to punch transit holes in the blizzard’s aftermath.
The province has spent $63 million on snow removal so far, compared to $58 million at this time last year. The department of transportation expects to spend a total of about $75 million this year, $5 million more than last year.
"We’ll be significantly over what was budgeted," he said.
The province will now focus on widening roads and removing banks of snow before the weekend rain — or perhaps snow — hits the city again.
"Any pressure you can take off the major infrastructure routes — and all roads — becomes important when flooding is a factor," MacLellan said.
"This isn’t a budgetary issue. We will allocate the dollars needed to get the roads cleared and let people travel safely."
He warned the brutal winter will lead to a rough spring cratered by potholes and flooded with snowmelt.
Pic from Cob. Pass. Plow driven by Gordon Hannam, retiring end of March after 35 years of service. Thank you, Gordon! <a href="http://t.co/zP8qhwKsYZ">pic.twitter.com/zP8qhwKsYZ</a>—@NS_TIR