Nova Scotia drivers weeks away from free passage on province's only toll highway

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The Cobequid Pass toll plaza is seen in this image. Nova Scotia Public Works Minister Kim Masland says the province paid off the remaining debt last week. (Google Maps - image credit)
The Cobequid Pass toll plaza is seen in this image. Nova Scotia Public Works Minister Kim Masland says the province paid off the remaining debt last week. (Google Maps - image credit)

Nova Scotia's only toll highway should be free for Nova Scotia drivers by the end of the month.

Public Works Minister Kim Masland said the province has paid off the debt owing to the private corporation that built the 45-kilometre stretch of Highway 104 between Masstown and Thomson Station.

Paying off that roughly $30-million debt was a key step in fulfilling the obligation the province took in 1995, when it signed a deal with the Highway 104 Western Alignment Corporation to finance, design, construct, operate and maintain the four-lane divided section of the Trans-Canada Highway.

Paying off the debt also allows the province to remove the tolls, which Masland said she expects to happen by the end of this month.

A committee made up of representatives from the various departments involved in the project are now working out the details associated with removing the tolls.

Masland said only Nova Scotians will benefit from a free ride. She said the tolls will no longer be applied to vehicles that are registered in the provinces, including commercial vehicles.

What still needs to be determined is how tolls will be collected from out-of-province drivers, and what will happen to the roughly 50 people who work at the toll plaza.

"I am aware that some people at the plaza have already moved on to different jobs because they knew that this was a commitment of government to remove tolls," Masland said.

"We'll see what the interdepartmental committee comes up with to help those people."

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