Highways can be built more efficiently without tolls

Published on March 3, 2017

This is a letter to drivers in the Maritimes who are concerned about the need for four-land, toll roads in our province.

First of all, I think everyone has had enough of all the bad roads in our province. There is a lot of talk about building more four-lane toll roads. I’m for them if they are affordable, and they will save a lot of lives.

I’m a retired commercial truck driver and I’ve seen and witnessed very bad crashes and death on our roads, and they can happen in a flash.

Some that I’ve seen still bother me. I’ve drive more than two million kilometres on roads from Labrador to Florida, east and west, on some good roads and some bad ones.

My big problem is how the government is going about getting them built. They seem to forget why they need to build these roads. It is to get from Point A to Point B in the safest and most efficient way possible.

From what I see, they start with a plan, then they appropriate so much unneeded land from farmers, woodland and homeowners. I can see why it costs so much to build. I have a lot of ideas how these roads can be built for several million dollars less and in a lot less time.

First, build a road wide enough for four lanes plus paved shoulders. In the middle, erect a cement barrier that the traffic won’t get through. There can be sections for emergency vehicles to get through.

With narrower highways, most of these wide exits and long overpasses can be shortened.

One thing I need to mention is the cost of tolls. They just put a price on it and if it is not enough they put it up (never down) and for as long as they want. There is a chance they may not need as many tolls on the roads that they think.

If they take a long, hard look at a lot of the roads that are already built they can widen them by excavating the shoulders and making them into four-lane highways.

Another thing is the medical and vehicle insurance costs. This is in the millions and we have to pay for it.

I haven’t said anything about our police and emergency personnel that have to deal with this on a daily basis. They must have nightmares about some of the things they have to deal with on their jobs. A lot of this pain, suffering and deaths on our roads can be stopped if these roads are built right and way under budget.

Leon Brown, Amherst