Baillie seeks Cobequid Pass commitment

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Calls for review of snow clearing operations

In light of a pair of closures, Jamie Baillie wants the province to review plowing on the Cobequid Pass.

Jaime Baillie, Cumberland South MLA and PC leader, wants the province to review the level of snow clearing operations on the Cobequid Pass. This comes after two incidents where the highway was closed during snow events.

HALIFAX – Cumberland South MLA Jamie Baillie is concerned with recent closures to the Cobequid Pass.

During Question Period on Thursday, the PC leader asked Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan to review the amount of snow clearing equipment available to clear the pass and alternate routes through the Wentworth Valley.

“This highway is a vital link, keeping Cumberland County connected to the rest of Nova Scotia,” Baillie told the Amherst News. “Cumberland County families and businesses deserve to know there is an adequate plan to protect the travelling public and keep the Pass safely open in winter.”

The east and westbound lanes of the 44-kilometre highway were closed for several hours earlier this month when a sudden snowfall caused transport trucks to become stuck in both lanes near the toll plaza.

Some motorists spent more than seven hours stuck in their vehicles waiting for the highway to be reopened.

The eastbound section of highway was closed at Exit 7 earlier this week when a transport truck jack-knifed on the road, again diverting traffic through the Wentworth Valley.

Baillie said it’s only the second week in December and the highway has already been closed twice. He called on the Liberal government to ensure the highway stays open in the winter and that motorists can travel safely.

The Cumberland South MLA said Cumberland County residents need to know how the department intends to keep the highway open through the winter.

“The province has a responsibility to provide sufficient road clearing equipment and to ensure that equipment is in the right place to maintain this critical link in the wintertime,” said Baillie. “I will continue to pressure the minister to make sure Cumberland County stays safely connected.”

One of things Baillie feels will improve the situation is relocating a pair of plows from Londonderry to Oxford, where they were located until last year.

“When the highway was first opened those plows were located in Oxford because it’s right on the highway and it’s closer to get to the pass. Nothing against Londonderry, but it’s further from the pass and takes plows longer to get there,” Baillie said. “We want to make sure equipment is located in the proper places to keep the pass safe and open.”

He also doesn’t want to see equipment diverted to the pass from elsewhere in Cumberland County.

MacLellan said his department is always looking to improve its policies and procedures, and he has no problem with taking another look at the situation on the highway.

“We do our very best to make sure our roads are the safest for Nova Scotians and we’ll endeavour to put in place any policies or measures that will improve safety and provide mobility in the winter months,” MacLellan said. “I would never say it’s a bad idea for a review and we’ll talk to the regional managers and local officials who do a great job fighting the elements. That’s a fair activity of government to get out and talk to the people on the ground and ask them if there are any changes they think are needed. If we can implement changes to make the Cobequid Pass even safer we’ll do it.”

 

Organizations: Thomson Station, PC, Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal

Geographic location: Cumberland County, Wentworth Valley, Colchester Nova Scotia Cumberland South

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Recent comments

  • Bill SEaman
    December 13, 2013 - 09:23

    I was the second official motorist through this road on Nov. 15, 1997, a day of which was less than the best. Two days later it was quite slippery and the way some people were driving, I figured there would be a mishap at some time. I called the DOT and suggested there be warning lights installed to lower the speed limit, to which I was told "it could not be done" I suggested he drive over the Confederation Bridge where he would see such lights installed. Now they are there but I read they were out of service because of power failure. O guess nothing is fool proof. There are two major problems with this road; one where it is built which would be costly prohibitive to make changes now and secondly, the equipment is not dispatched soon enough for such a road, which as far as I am concerned was a problem at times with the old road. The history of the closures of this road should be reviewed and plans made based on the experiences reviewed. We should not have to reinvent the wheel, which I feel is happening here.. Bill Seaman, Moncton, N.B.

  • jr
    December 13, 2013 - 07:34

    So much for freedom os speech. I submitted an article yesteray related to this and it appears as though the Daily Paper is afraid to post it. This has happened many times as maybe you guys are hiding behind someone's skirt! I said nothing outside of the truth in the post yet you won't permit it. I have a cure for that and it goes one of two ways. You folks may as well just take the option for any comments off of the website completely or maybe we as citizens need to post our our comments some place like Yourtube and Facebook and really tell it how it is. I have no doubt at all that this will be deleted and most likely you folks will disable my account so it won't surprise me when it happens. I know first hand that this will go nowhere as it is definitely not the first time this has happened.

  • Friend
    December 13, 2013 - 02:53

    Need I remind Mr Baillie that the pass is located in a area that his government wanted it to be and other party members strongly rejected to for this very reason.The pass should never have been put in this are in the first place.

  • jr
    December 12, 2013 - 13:53

    Well, to begine with. If he wants to use the link to Cumberland County as a tool, he should think of the bigger picture as being a link to this county is peanuts when thinking fo the picture where this is actually the link to the rest of the country. The big accident with the trucks was not related to snow anyway. It happened in rain and fog and the snow came afterwards. Of course that made things worse but it had nothing to do with the cause and saying that more snow removal equipment would have prevented this and thus preventing the pass from closing. yes they need to have enough gear in the area to clear the highway but they also have to be told to go out when they should instead of being held back until some limp minded fool decides they need to clear the road. By the time they make this decision it is usually too late. They use a brine of a sort on the Coquihalla Pass and it works better.