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Why Our Highways Matter

I've been interested in the story of the expansion of our East Coast highway system for almost two decades now, going back to when I first arrived in Atlantic Canada in 1990. I had driven all the way from Ottawa to Halifax, NS. Back then, the only four lane stretch of highway of any length was Nova Scotia Highway 102 between Truro and Halifax.

Rob Alfers, Publisher, Auto Atlantic Magazine

The last time I drove to the nation's capitol, about a year ago, it was almost all four lane highways, most of them brand new. And in case anybody would like a reminder of what it was like "way back then,' imagine driving the Folly Mountain route, in winter, before the new toll highway was built. Or the late night drive from Moncton to Fredericton? Scary indeed. Now imagine you are driving an 18-wheeler on any of those routes for hours on end. Suddenly safety becomes a big issue.

"A safe, efficient and sustainable transportation system remains a key element of Atlantic Canada's prosperity and quality of life. In an age of globalization, it opens the door to the rest of the world and presents new prospects for future development and commercial trade beyond our borders."

The above quote is an excerpt from "Charting the Course - Atlantic Canada Transportation Strategy 2008-2018. 'This 10-year transportation strategy for the Atlantic region presents a vision for a state-of-the art transportation system in Atlantic Canada, covering all modes of transportation (including of course roads) that supports economic and social development in the region, with benefits for all of Canada.

The report goes on to say . . . "Action is needed if we are to properly position ourselves to seize new opportunities and respond to the existing challenges. This strategy will serve as a blueprint for future cooperation amongst Atlantic Ministers of Transportation, as well as other key partners, on progress towards the achievement of our vision for a state-of-the-art, multi-modal transportation system to, from and within Atlantic Canada."

To my eyes the benefits of a complete Atlantic multilane highway system are clear; our highways are the main arterial link between Atlantic Canada and the rest of the nation, will enhance trade and tourism, since better access to central Canada and the USA will be provided; and will reduce transportation costs and travel time, since a controlled-access highway with a higher speed limit will ensure safe and efficient motoring from the Québec border to St. John's.

Heavenly Highways indeed!

Rob Alfers

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