Tolls to increase in new year on Halifax harbour bridges

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Tolls will rise in the new year to drive across the bridges over Halifax harbour. (Carolyn Ray/CBC - image credit)
Tolls will rise in the new year to drive across the bridges over Halifax harbour. (Carolyn Ray/CBC - image credit)

The cost of using a bridge to cross the Halifax harbour will increase as of Jan. 3.

Officials with the Halifax Harbour Bridges said the hike, which was approved Monday by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, will mean a passenger vehicle using a Macpass will pay a dollar instead of 80 cents. Anyone using cash will have to pay $1.25, up from a dollar.

"This is the first increase in a decade," said Steve Snider, general manager of the bridge commission.

He said Big Lift project, which involved replacing the deck of the Macdonald Bridge, cost more than $200 million.

Another $280 million is needed for capital projects on both the Macdonald and the MacKay Bridge, according to Snider. That work includes repairs on the steel parts of the Macdonald and dehumidification of the cables on the MacKay.

"It's routine work, but there's more and more of it as the bridges age," said Snider.

A new study suggests the deck system of the MacKay will reach the end of its life by 2040.

Engineers recommend building a completely new six-lane bridge, with pedestrian and bike lanes. Snider said that would be a billion-dollar project. A final decision has not yet been made. But part of the toll increase will pay for planning and design work.

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