Halifax weighs options for pedestrians crossing Highway 101 at Lower Sackville exit

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Some people from the Sackville Manor Mobile Home Park have been crossing Highway 101 on foot as a shortcut to get to a transit terminal and shopping mall. (CBC - image credit)
Some people from the Sackville Manor Mobile Home Park have been crossing Highway 101 on foot as a shortcut to get to a transit terminal and shopping mall. (CBC - image credit)

Halifax's transportation committee will consider three options to make it safer for pedestrians to get across Highway 101 in Lower Sackville.

The Sackville Manor Mobile Home Park is home to 775 people. Some residents are cutting across the busy highway, near the Exit 2 off-ramp, to get to a bus terminal and shopping mall.

A staff report said "counts are not available … but pedestrian wear paths suggest the route is being used."

"Most people know it's going to be a problem and they're going to have to watch for traffic," said Paul Russell, the councillor for the area. "For those who cross with strollers or who cross at night, it's a lot more difficult."

According to Russell, two people have been killed over the past 10 years using this shortcut at night.

Russell says 2 people have been killed at night over the past 10 years while crossing a certain section of Highway 101 in Lower Sackville.
Russell says 2 people have been killed at night over the past 10 years while crossing a certain section of Highway 101 in Lower Sackville.(CBC)

Transportation planners have come up with three options for a pedestrian bridge. All of the options would be accessible for people in wheelchairs or pushing strollers.

The estimated costs are $4.6 million, $3.9 million and $3.4 million for options one, two and three, respectively.

The three options involve building multi-use pathways and infrastructure to cross the highway. The first two options have the same crossing point at the highway, but all three have different end points.

Russell said he prefers the second option, which has the pedestrian bridge going over the highway near the off-ramp.

"It's certainly the shortest route. It's the way they go now," he said.

The top graphic shows the current pedestrian shortcuts. The bottom graphic shows the estimated costs for the 3 multi-use trail and pedestrian infrastructure options for the highway.
The top graphic shows the current pedestrian shortcuts. The bottom graphic shows the estimated costs for the 3 multi-use trail and pedestrian infrastructure options for the highway.(CBC News Graphics)

According to Russell, the province prefers the third option, and the city needs agreement from the province. That crossing is farther away from the bus terminal and the city would need to acquire some private land.

Russell believes it could take years to get the pedestrian crossing built. The transportation committee will discuss the proposed options Thursday afternoon.

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