Blaine MacQuarrie

PORT HAWKESBURY: The construction for Destination Reeves Street is progressing well but town councillors are questioning why certain previously agreed-upon safety elements are being left out from the final design.

During Port Hawkesbury’s regular monthly council meeting, a motion was approved to send a letter to Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (NSTIR) Minister Lloyd Hines asking for clarity on the removal of designated left-turn lanes from the project.

“During the design process for Destination Reeves Street, NSTIR staff indicated to council at the February public meeting, that there would be upgrades completed to traffic signals at Pitt Street and Reynolds Street,” Terry Doyle, the town’s CAO said. “The improvements were to include a protected left-turn phase traffic signal, sensor upgrades, crosswalk buttons at accessible height, and audible signals.”

The motion to send a letter was suggested by town councillor Blaine MacQuarrie, who feels this is a significant issue. MacQuarrie, who also introduced the original motion to remove the road re-design in January’s council meeting after being sworn-in following a special election, made his position on the road re-design clear; safety was his main priority.

“We’ve recently devised the upgrades will not occur due to the unexpected high costs,” Doyle said. “The Town of Port Hawkesbury would like NSTIR to re-consider their position not to install protected left-turn indicators at Pitt Street and Reynolds Street intersections.”

A spokesperson with NSTIR confirmed with The Reporter the Reeves Street road configuration is going forward and will include dedicated left turn lanes, sensor upgrades and crosswalk buttons at accessible heights.

“What has recently been communicated to the town is that the new lanes will be serviced by a solid green light permitting the left turn. Based on traffic analysis, the flashing green light was determined to not be critical for intersection operation,” Marla MacInnis said. “Upgrading the intersection and associated technology to enable a flashing green light would have significantly increased the cost of the project.”

The project’s budget is approximately $1 million. the flashing green light would have increased the cost by $350,000.

Councillors put their full support behind Destination Reeves Street following their February council meeting, which had some major last minute changes including the removal of the bike lane component, and the installation of new traffic lights at the Pitt and Reynolds intersections, with dedicated left-turn lanes.