Nova Scotia

Ottawa chips in for Highway 104 twinning along deadly stretch of road

Standing at a photo op off the side of Highway 104 this morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $90-million federal contribution for twinning a deadly 38-kilometre stretch of road between Sutherlands River and Antigonish, N.S.

Since 2008, there have been more than 400 accidents between Sutherlands River and Antigonish

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the funding announcement Tuesday morning in Sutherlands River, N.S. (Steve Lawrence/CBC)

Standing at a photo op off the side of Highway 104 this morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $90-million federal contribution for twinning a deadly 38-kilometre stretch of road between Sutherlands River and Antigonish, N.S.

The section that will be twinned between Pictou and Antigonish counties has been a dangerous one over the past decade.

Since 2009, there have been 414 accidents and 16 people have died on that stretch of road, said Joe MacDonald, the fire chief in Barneys River. He's been a tireless advocate for twinning the highway.

MacDonald, his voice choked with emotion, thanked those responsible for the plan, and reminded people what spurred him to push for the work.

'I had had enough,' says twinning advocate

"Four years ago this past Feb. 4, there was another fatal accident, an 18-year-old man," he told the group. "I had had enough!" 

"I want to thank you from the bottom on my heart," he told those assembled. "And on behalf of the families affected by this highway, thank you.

"I look forward to safer travel from Sutherlands River to Antigonish."

The prime minister acknowledged MacDonald's lobbying efforts at the news conference.

'Twinned highways save lives,' says PM

Trudeau said the twinning will dramatically cut down on the number of highway fatalities.

"It's prone to relentless traffic and unfortunately it sees a high number of accidents every year," he said. "But as the banner reads on the Barneys River fire station, twinned highways save lives."

"Not only will this project alleviate the bottleneck and and get more vehicles moving, but most importantly, it's also expected to reduce fatalities on this stretch of the highway by 80 per cent."

Project details

Work on the project could begin as early as next summer, and the much-promised project is expected to be completed by 2024.

Nova Scotia taxpayers will be contributing $195 million to the project, which will include a 28-kilometre section built alongside existing road and a 10-kilometre stretch of brand-new highway between Barneys River and James River, south of where the highway currently runs.

"This is about saving lives," said Premier Stephen McNeil, who was on hand for the announcement.

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