Nova Scotia

Tunnel or 3rd bridge proposed for Halifax

Halifax will need a third fixed harbour crossing by 2016, a new study says.

Halifax will need a third fixed harbour crossing by 2016 to handle growing traffic needs, a new report says.

The study, prepared for the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission, recommends a tunnel or third bridge.

"If we take a look at the projections we see a significant increase in our population and in our employment and that means there's going to be more trips for business and travel," said Steve Snider, general manager and CEO of the commission.

"Hopefully, more people will get out of their cars, but I doubt if all people are going to get out."

On the Dartmouth side, the new crossing would be based in the Woodside area off Highway 111. In Halifax, traffic would come onto the peninsula at the CN Rail cut near Point Pleasant Park in the city's south end.

The estimated cost is somewhere between $1.1 billion and $1.4 billion.

Leonard Preyra, MLA for Halifax Citadel, which includes the south end, is not convinced.

"What we need are traffic solutions that will reduce the number of cars coming onto the peninsula," Preyra said.

Snider said a third fixed crossing would allow lanes to be reserved for buses, thereby enhancing the Halifax Regional Municipality's public transit system.

Snider and board chairman Tom Calkin are quick to point out that no decisions have been made and they're open to public feedback.

"We're not trying to force this on the community," said Calkin. "We think they have to consider this very carefully."

Halifax regional councillors were briefed on the study Tuesday night. They ordered a report and postponed discussion until that report is complete.

There are currently two spans over Halifax Harbour: the Macdonald and Mackay bridges. There is also ferry service for pedestrians.