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A perfect honour for a former premier

With the awarding of the tender for construction of the new Rainbow Bridge over the Nappan River, it appears that a long wait could soon be over for motorists who have been inconvenienced since December 2017 with the closure of the original bridge on Highway 2.

Transportation and Infrastructure Services Nova Scotia announced last week the tender for the bridge has been awarded to Timber Restoration Services, which is building a glue-laminated timber bridge over the river, replacing the bridge that was closed more than a year ago amid structural concerns.

With the bridge’s closure, motorists have been forced to detour around the bridge by using the Smith Road or the Porter Road, that although shorter was never intended for the amount of traffic it has seen since December 2017. It has resulted in frustration for residents along that road and has required the province to come in on several occasions to resurface the road.

The new bridge is being manufactured offsite with on-site construction expected to begin in September with a tentative plan to have the new structure open to traffic by the end of October or sometime in November.

Now that we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, it would make sense for the Municipality of Cumberland and Transportation and Infrastructure to work through the layers of bureaucracy that exist to have it named in honour of one of the area’s most well known residents.

Earlier this year, retired Amherst lawyer Morris Haugg wrote a column in support of naming the new bridge in honour for former MLA and premier Roger Bacon, who lives on the Porter Road and from whose home you can see the gap in the highway where the new structure will be put in place.

For 35 years, Bacon served the people of Cumberland County as a municipal councilor, MLA, provincial minister and then premier of Nova Scotia. He gave most of his professional life, when not busy on the farm, to the people of the county and the province.

Bacon, who is now 92 years old, was also active on the health-care front serving on the first Cumberland Health Care Foundation and working diligently on the Above and Beyond Campaign to bring a new regional hospital to Upper Nappan.

He remains a benefactor of the regional hospital through a bursary in his wife Clara’s memory that supports health-care staff wishing to upgrade their skills.

Several years ago, one of the new buildings at the Bible Hill campus of Dalhousie University was renamed the Roger Stuart Bacon Building and it was Premier Stephen MacNeil who instigated the honour that also saw Bacon’s close friend and former Colchester North MLA Ed Lorraine have another building on the same campus named in his honour.

Considering everything he has done for the community and the province, as well as the fact he’s been honoured elsewhere, the least we can do is do something to recognize him locally. Let’s hope those who make the decisions are listening and the Roger S. Bacon Bridge becomes a reality later this year.

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