ANTIGONISH: Municipal council is happy with the response it has received from the provincial government over two transportation-related matters.

On January 3, the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (DTIR) announced the closure of a section of Trunk 4 from South River Road to Beech Hill Road in Antigonish County. The department stated the closure will be in effect until a roundabout is added to the area. Transportation minister Lloyd Hines previously said they’ve been looking at the intersection for over a year, adding a safety study was completed on the intersection.

Depending on how long takes for the design work – which Hines said is underway – the department is aiming to begin work on the roundabout either in the late summer or early fall.

The changes come after 19 collisions occurred at the intersection since early 2017, including a fatality on December 2.

Following the regular meeting of council for the Municipality of the County of Antigonish on January 13, Warden Owen McCarron said the feedback from residents has been positive.

“Some of the businesses are concerned about the long-term closure of that road because it does impact traffic flow as you head east towards Lower South River,” said McCarron. “We’re going to work closely with DTIR to make sure whatever the remedy is, it will happen as quickly and efficiently as possible. The minister did indicate that they’re hoping to start construction in the summer to fall session. That’s something that we’re hopeful can happen.”

McCarron said at this point, getting the traffic slowed down will reduce the number of collisions at the intersection.

“When you hear from the first responders that are there…We recognized something had to be done,” said McCarron. “This gives us a quick solution in the short term and hopefully the long-term [solution] will give the area a satisfactory outcome.”

In the meantime, a section of road in the Antigonish County in need of some repairs will get a look from the province.

Last May, council sent a letter to the DTIR about the Afton Road and Gorman Road. At the time, McCarron said the road was in rough shape. During the regular monthly meeting on January 3, council heard back from Hines.

“We got a letter back from the minister on the Afton-Gorman Road and he is sending out information to department staff to have a look, do traffic counts, to see what possibilities there are in terms of some upgrades,” said McCarron.

“We’re very happy to see that. We’ll see what the outcome is as we head to toward the construction season.”

McCarron added he thinks the traffic count will happen in the spring, calling it the logical time.