© Jonathan Riley
Crews from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal started construction of a crosswalk across Hwy 303 at Bel Air Drive in Conway today, July 29.
Construction started today on a crosswalk at Bel Air Drive across Highway 303 in Conway, the main route in and out of Digby.
Courtney Franzen lives on Bel Air Drive and welcomes the crosswalk.
“I have two young kids at home and one of them in a stroller,” she said. “I wouldn’t even attempt to cross down there with all the traffic. It’s too busy.”
Franzen says the crosswalk will enable her to take the kids for a walk rather than driving everywhere.
‘There’s a lot of families on this street and elderly people in the apartments so it is going to help a lot of people,” she said.
Jimmy MacAlpine, the municipal councillor for District 1, which includes Conway, says people have been asking for this crosswalk since the province started talking about adding the third lane, or turning lane, through Conway.
The Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (TIR) finished adding that lane in Nov. 2010 but they made no move to install a crosswalk.
MacAlpine pushed for two different traffic surveys, collected signatures from local residents and asked council to write letters in support of the project.
“For us it’s a safety issue for the residents there, so it’s very important,”
TIR eventually agreed to install the crosswalk, if the Municipality of the District of Digby paid for it.
The municipality set aside $30,000 in the 2013-14 budget for the project including curb modifications, flashing warning light and painting.
Pedestrians will be able to press a button activating flashing lights warning drivers to stop.
“It is going to take some getting used to for drivers,” said MacAlpine. “People are going to have to be educated that it’s there.”
TIR crews closed down a small section of the third lane on Tuesday, July 29 and prepared the curb and foundations.
Next Nova Scotia Power has to install a pole for the flashing overhead light.
A TIR spokesperson estimates the work will take a couple weeks working on and off on the project.