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Building a more beautiful highway between Fort Lawrence and Amherst takes a sharp turn towards reality

Keith Thompson, citizen representative on the Border Entrance Committee, and Chelsea Baird, horticulturalist for the Town of Amherst, presented their low-cost highway enhancement plan to county council on Jan. 9.
Keith Thompson, citizen representative on the Border Entrance Committee, and Chelsea Baird, horticulturalist for the Town of Amherst, presented their low-cost highway enhancement plan to county council on Jan. 9. - Dave Mathieson

UPPER NAPPAN – The beautification of the Trunk 2 Highway between Fort Lawrence and Amherst has been a topic of discussion for more than 20 years.

That talk may soon turn to action.

“Chelsea and I have done a bit of work and what we’re proposing is a low-cost, low-maintenance option to get something done,” said Keith Thompson, citizen representative on the Border Entrance Committee.

Thompson, former owner of Fundy Landscaping, now retired, along with Chelsea Baird, horticulturalist for the Town of Amherst, presented their proposal to county council on Jan. 9. Thompson said there have been several kicks at the can with respects to making improvements to the entrance from Fort Lawrence heading into Amherst, including a feasibility study in 1995, and a development plan in 1997, with an estimated cost of $2.9 million.

The latest proposal has three phases, and comes in at a fraction of that cost.

Baird said the cost of a pilot project for Phase 1 from Fort Lawrence to the 104 over pass would cost $26,500, and a full project from Fort Lawrence to the Town of Amherst entrance would cost $52,000.

Phase 1 is the creation of a green-belt corridor along both sides of the road.

“The average width we’re proposing is 10 to 12 feet from the edge of the road,” said Baird. “This is a good start, and if we could have this from one end to the other it would really enhance that area.”

Phase 2 is the cost of yearly maintenance. Maintaining the pilot project would cost $10,000 per-year, and the full project would cost $20,000.

Thompson said Phase 1 can’t happen without Phase 2.

“If we’re going to do anything, then it’s important to look at a maintenance package on a yearly basis to maintain these things. If we’re not going to maintain it, what’s the point in doing it.”

Phase 3 is ‘aesthetic enhancements’ along the highway after Phase 1 and Phase 2 have been completed.

“It’s very harsh growing conditions but we could plant some native trees and shrubs along there that would be able to endure those harsh condition,” said Baird. “There could also be banners and flags done along those power poles on a trial basis. We could start with a few and see what happens.”

No cost was given for Phase 3.

After the presentation, the county said they will take a closer look at the proposal in February to see where it would rank on their capital investment plan.

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