Saturday, June 22, 2024

Safety upgrades to dangerous Auld’s Cove intersection begin

  • June 5 2024
  • By Alec Bruce Local Journalism Initiative Reporter    

AULDS COVE — Much-needed improvements to the major intersection of Highway 104 and Route 344 are finally underway, and the mayor of Mulgrave, for one, couldn’t be happier.

“I’m looking at the work going on right there in front of me,” Ron Chisholm told The Journal from his cell phone last week. “There’s big movement here... finally.”

According to Chisholm, the intersection – the only way in and out of Mulgrave from that end of town – has been a danger to residents. Trucks turning into the Irving Big Stop there have inadvertently impeded other drivers trying to turn into Mulgrave, he said.

Meanwhile, the provincial government has been unable to address the problem with repaving and better signage until the adjacent railway crossing – part of Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway (CBCNSR), owned by Genesee & Wyoming – receives upgrades. That, Chisholm said, is now unfolding.

“Wyoming Rail has already put [new] rail down,” he reported. “They have the contactor [electrical relay used for switching at railway crossings] in place. I see the poles are there for the lights and the swing arms. The electrical guys are here, setting everything up.”

In an email to The Journal last week, Gary Andrea, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Works confirmed that, as the work on the rail bed has proceeded, “The department has resumed work in Auld’s Cove... Once upgrades to the railway crossing are completed, the department will finish associated subgrade, electrical, repaving, pavement markings and signage upgrades at the intersection.”

After nearly colliding with an oncoming vehicle at the intersection earlier this year, Chisholm reached out to Genesee & Wyoming’s CBCNSR partner, CN Rail, urging immediate action to the longstanding problem. “The good news was that the [CN Rail] guy said that [the] plans were to have the lights and an automated warning system – which is [how] the arms come down – done in June,” he told The Journal in March.

Last week, he said, “I hope that the paving gets done shortly and puts us back on the move and that this is done, finished.”

Said Andrea: “While the current schedule relies on completion of upgrades to the railway crossing, we expect this project to be completed later this summer.”