Halifax is seeking a new design for a major traffic hub in the city that's a frequent source of gridlock for commuters.
The municipality issued a request for proposals Friday for a "functional plan and preliminary design" for the Windsor Street exchange redevelopment project.
The busy intersection connects the suburb of Bedford to the northwest corner of Halifax and is a primary route to the MacKay Bridge to Dartmouth.
When funding for the project was announced last year, officials said the area would see new traffic lights, a realignment of the Bedford Highway and upgrades to Lady Hammond Road.
At the time, Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau said "the whole idea is to reduce that very, very serious bottleneck."
The intersection redo was announced in tandem with plans for a new rail connection between the South End Container Terminal and the Fairview Cove Container Terminal. The intention is to make the latter the main destination for transport trucks to keep them mostly off the peninsula.
Together, the two projects are estimated to cost $95 million, with half paid by the federal government and the other half shared between the Halifax Regional Municipality, the provincial government, the Port of Halifax and CN.
When announced, Garneau said planning would start immediately with construction beginning in 2020. According to the municipality's tender, however, the design process has yet to begin.
The municipality is asking for a design with a construction timeline to be submitted by September 2021. That design will be 60 per cent complete, and municipal spokesperson Erin DiCarlo said a final design is anticipated in 2022.
DiCarlo said the timeline given at the time of the funding announcement last year was "an early estimate before project planning had begun."
"Projects of this magnitude take significant time to plan, engage, and design," DiCarlo said in an email.
She said the COVID-19 pandemic did not significantly change the anticipated timeline.
The design process will undergo three phases of public engagement. The final design should include transit priority measures, active transportation connections and improved flow for vehicles.
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