Minister shows twinning favoritism

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HALIFAX, N.S. — The twinning of the Trans-Canada Highway to the west of the Canso Causeway is being put on hold in favor of Hwy. 101.

Port Hawkesbury Mayor, Billy Joe MacLean charges priority has been given to roadwork in Transportation Minister Ron Russell’s Hants West riding.

“I’m so angry I could spit,” MacLean said to local media.

MacLean was told by the Department of Transportation, the twinning of Hwy. 104 will not reach Port Hawkesbury for another 10 years because Hwy. 101 is the government’s top priority.

During the 1999 election campaign, Russell guaranteed Hwy. 101 would be twinned immediately after a Tory victory. Two weeks ago he announced that $27 million would be spent over the next three years to twin between Mount Uniacke and Ellerhouse, Hants Counties.

MacLean said Port Hawkesbury is growing once again and a good highway would ensure its economic future. He said he was not opposed to improving the 101, but doesn’t think the money should be allotted to only one project.

A spokesperson for the transport department said the Trans-Canada project has not been sacrificed for Hwy. 101.

“It’s not a matter of one project being bumped by another one at all,” says department spokeswoman Laura Lee Langley. “The current work on the 101 has long been identified as a priority, and that would have been done before work on that section that Mr. MacLean talks about in any case.”

Also, she reported the department has done a great deal of work on the Trans-Canada between New Glasgow and the Strait, and alignment work is being done between New Glasgow and Sutherland’s River.

“The 101 really hasn’t had a whole lot of this kind of attention,” she says.

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