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Antigonish County continues wait for traffic report

Safety at the Beech Hill/Trunk 4 intersection remains a concern for Municipality of the County of Antigonish council. Richard MacKenzie
Safety at the Beech Hill/Trunk 4 intersection remains a concern for Municipality of the County of Antigonish council. Richard MacKenzie - Corey LeBlanc

Council has expressed concern about Beech Hill/Trunk 4 intersection for more than two years

ANTIGONISH, N.S. —

The Municipality of the County of Antigonish continues its wait for a provincial report on what it considers a dangerous intersection.    

Council has raised safety concerns about the Beech Hill/Trunk 4 intersection, which has been the site of several collisions and near-misses, for more than two years.    

There have been issues with the area since it re-opened to traffic in October 2016, which came after construction of the new twinned Trans-Canada Highway 104.    

“We haven’t heard anything, other than the local [TIR] office indicated there is a report coming down, so we are hoping to get some clarity on it, and figure out what the long-term plan is,” Warden Owen McCarron told reporters after council’s regular monthly meeting Oct. 15.    

He noted county officials have met with representatives of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal regional office on a couple of occasions regarding the ongoing issue.    

“We are just waiting for a little more detail,” he added.    

McCarron said the municipality is unsure when the report will be turned over to them.    

“We were hopeful it would be here, by now, but we are still waiting. As soon as we get that, we will certainly be reporting back to the public through you folks [local media],” he added.

Although the possible construction of a roundabout – one of the suggested remedies – would take some time, county officials are hopeful other safety measures could be carried out in the interim.

Speed concerns    

Municipal officials continue to investigate concerns raised about speeders along a stretch of Highway 337, just beyond St. Martha’s Regional Hospital.    

“We are still waiting to hear back [from the province] on that,” McCarron said.    

He noted data has been collected from a digital speed sign placed in that area.    

“We sent that information to traffic services and to the RCMP. They are looking at some of the information now to try to give us a sense of the times of day – and things like that – [when speeding occurs],” McCarron explained.    

He said that is the type of information required for decisions to be made regarding adjusting speed zones and limits.     

“We are working closely with both groups [traffic services and RCMP] to see where that is going to lead us,” McCarron said.    

“Having that information current is something that we feel is important and, hopefully, we will get a good outcome for the residents along that area.”    

McCarron agreed the data could also help the RCMP determine times when heightened enforcement measures would be useful.    

“Hopefully, that would help slow the traffic down because it is a busy area and public safety is our primary concern,” he said.

Riding the rails    

At its monthly meeting in June, council discussed an issue with a railway crossing located on private property near Linwood Station Road.    

There was concern over two deep holes, one located on either side of the crossing, which had become a safety issue.    

Council decided to send a letter of concern regarding potential dangers to Genesee and Wyoming – owners of the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway (CBNS).    

At that time, McCarron noted there are several places in Antigonish County where the railway intersects private property, with roads providing access from one side to the other.    

More broadly, council expressed concern over the railway company removing crossing and limiting access for landowners.    

“We met with them early summer, so we are still waiting to hear back,” McCarron said after the October monthly session.    

He added the company has rectified the situation near Linwood Station Road, where they had dug large holes.    

“But, there are a couple other crossings – one, in particular, where there is a farmer impacted – and they haven’t done anything about that yet. We are still waiting to hear back from them on a solution for that property,” McCarron said.    

When asked if county officials expect a remedy, the warden said “cautiously optimistic.”    

“It is a big organization and, sometimes, getting them to move quickly on what they deem to be small issues is a little challenging,” McCarron concluded.

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