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Work planned for busy downtown Antigonish intersection

The Main, West and Hawthorne intersection will see new traffic lights and a traffic island as part of planned spring-time work.
The Main, West and Hawthorne intersection will see new traffic lights and a traffic island as part of planned spring-time work. - Richard MacKenzie

New traffic lights and traffic island part of work to be done

ANTIGONISH, N.S. - One of Antigonish’s busiest intersections – if not the busiest – will undergo changes in the spring designed to help make it safer for both vehicles and pedestrians, and easier to maneuver overall.  

Town of Antigonish engineer and director of public works Ken Proctor presented to town council the details of the work, at the confluence of Main, West and Hawthorne streets, during council’s regular monthly, public meeting Dec. 17.   

The work, which includes new traffic lights and a traffic island, is scheduled to begin right after St. F.X. spring convocation and to be wrapped up before the busier tourist type of events come to town, such as the annual Highland Games or the provincial 55 + Games which Antigonish is hosting in the mid-summer.

“Over the last few years, we’ve had quite a few people talk about that intersection being very confusing, for vehicles as well as for pedestrians,” Antigonish Mayor Laurie Boucher said to reporters after the meeting.

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Boucher noted “close calls” and the situation of a long crosswalk on Main Street where it’s common for the light to change while pedestrians are still in the process of crossing.

“So there will be a bit more time with an island in the middle; it will give pedestrians a chance to stop safely, in case they can’t make it all the way across if they started late,” she said.

“And it will delineate more the way of the road. Coming down West Street continues going up Hawthorne; that is the continuing road. Turning right on to Main Street is actually a right turn.”

During his presentation, Proctor talked about a recent meeting he had with business owners in the area where the work will take place. Most of council’s discussion also dealt with concerns for the inconvenience the work may cause businesses in the area.

“I want to stress how important that meeting was,” Boucher said of town staff’s sit-down with the business owners.

“For our council, being transparent and accountable is one of our priorities and for staff to go out and speak with the business owners; it’s good they had input on it, asks questions before-hand. They can plan for it as well, it’s not like we sprung it on them at the last minute. And some suggestions would come out [during discussions] to make it easier for them.”

Boucher stressed the timing is very important.

“Our priority is to get it done as early in the spring as we can; immediately after spring convocation, and as fast as we can so we mitigate any adverse effects to the businesses in that area.

“And to make sure it’s a safer intersection when we’re finished.”

Asked about the estimated price tag, Boucher said $400,000.

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