Nova Scotia

Possible expansion of Bayers Road could raise hackles

Another busy road in Halifax may be widened to ease traffic congestion: Bayers Road.

Another busy road in Halifax may be widened to ease traffic congestion.

A proposal is in the works to widen Bayers Road, a major route to the peninsula and the city's downtown.

Under the draft plan, the road would be expanded to six lanes in some places.

Dave McCusker, manager of transportation planning for the municipality, said the regional plan identified Bedford West and Bedford South as two growing areas, which means more traffic on Highway 102 and the Bayers Road corridor.

He said there could be lanes specifically for buses or multi-passenger vehicles, or even toll lanes.

"There are a number of things that have to be considered, along with even, I guess, how much acceptance there is for the project overall," McCusker told CBC News on Wednesday.

More information will be provided at a public meeting in mid-February.

Protests likely

If the city goes ahead with this plan, it can expect protests like the one over the widening of Chebucto Road, warns Coun. Jerry Blumenthal, whose district includes a section of Bayers Road.

Last year, police arrested several people as workers felled trees along Chebucto Road to get it ready for construction.

"Why widen another road?" said Blumenthal. "You've got Windsor Street, you've got Connaught Avenue, you've got Chebucto Road.

"Sooner or later, the peninsula is just going to be a group of roads for people outside to get downtown. And where are they going to park?"

Gary Trenholme, who has been selling pianos on Bayers Road for 17 years, wonders if the municipality will need to acquire part of his property.

"Nobody's ever discussed it with me yet," Trenholme said.

Bayers Road resident Jim Strachan fought a similar plan to widen the street in 1995. He's prepared for another battle.

"They wanted six feet of my front lawn," Strachan said. "I would step off my step onto the sidewalk."

McCusker said the type of work that would be required to expand traffic on Bayers Road would be a much larger project than the widening of Chebucto Road. It wouldn't start for several years, he added.