SUTHERLANDS RIVER, N.S. — Nova Scotia's Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal has requested environmental approval to twin a highway that has been the site of hundreds of crashes and multiple fatalities in the last decade.
The project seeks to duplicate Highway 104 along a 38-kilometre stretch between Sutherlands River in Pictou County, N.S., and Addington Forks in Antigonish County, which will include 28 kilometres built alongside the existing road and 10 kilometres of a new, four-lane highway.
In the registration document submitted Thursday, the department identified multiple environmental impacts of the project, including decreased air and water quality in the area, increased noise levels, loss of animal habitat and the loss of Mi'kmaq traditional use sites.
But the department says it plans to mitigate these effects in part by monitoring water quality throughout the project, creating a plan for losses to fish and fish habitat, implementing a wildlife passage monitoring program and conducting an Mi'kmaq Ecological Knowledge Study.
Since 2009 there have been more than 414 crashes on the highway and more than a dozen fatalities, and the department estimates the project will reduce collisions in the area by 30 to 35 per cent.
The public can submit feedback on the project until Jan. 15, and the province's environment minister is expected to make a decision on whether or not to approve the project by Feb. 4.
The Canadian Press