The Cobequid Pass saw 1,500 motorists stranded last November during a winter snowstorm. The province is starting to implement recommendations made by consultants, including repaving the old Trans Canada Highway through the Wentworth Valley. File photo
HALIFAX - The province is well on its way to implementing the recommendations made by consultants Opus International following a snowstorm last November that stranded 1,500 motorists on the Cobequid Pass.
"There are some we're still working on, but there's quite a few of them we have implemented," Catherine MacIsaac of the Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Department said. "There's quite a long list, but we're working our way through them."
Last week, the province called for tenders to pave eight kilometres of the old Trans-Canada Highway through the Wentworth Valley. While the road was reduced to secondary status with the 44-kilometre Cobequid Pass was opened in 1997, the consultants recommended maintaining that highway as an alternate route during storms and in times of emergency when the toll highway that runs between Thomson Station and Glenholme is closed.
MacIsaac said the paving project is just one of the recommendations being acted upon by the department. She said tenders have been called for the paving of the crossovers between the east and westbound lands of the Cobequid Pass while overhead electronic signage will be put in place before winter.
Many smaller recommendations, such as including CB radios in the snowplows, have already been acted upon while others, such as exploring the possibility of construction rest stops along the highway, have yet to be acted on.
While it wasn't a formal recommendation of Opus International, MacIsaac said the department had thermal weather mapping done on the highway so transportation officials will know what to expect in certain conditions.
"It gives us the ability over a period of weeks or months to map the weather patterns," MacIsaac said. "It gives us a good sense of what to expect in particular circumstances."
The department will be able to take a weather forecast and determine how the road will be impacted.
Following the storm, Opus International made 30 recommendations including the installation of overhead signage at each end of the highway along with mobilizing winter maintenance crews by Nov. 1.
MacIsaac said winter crews in that area of the province will be mobilized earlier this year, but she's not sure if it will be as early as Nov. 1.