The announcement to speed up the twinning process for TransCanada Highway 104 between Sutherlands River and Antigonish may have been made, but construction itself cannot come soon enough.
Each day travelling on the highway poses a risk for some, although it is not necessarily the highway but the drivers on it that make the road dangerous.
Just days after the twinning announcement was made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Pictou County resident Edward Fraser was travelling the highway and managed to capture on video what could have been a deadly accident, the sort that the twinning will prevent, on his dash cam.
“The week before I had just read the story that they’re twinning the highway. So the timing of this couldn’t be more relevant. I didn’t imagine it picking up like it did, The Hawk radio station along with 300 others shared it on their Facebook pages,” said Fraser.
He posted the video to Facebook to share the close encounter and the video immediately blew up, showing just why the road has earned a dangerous reputation. Fraser added that he used to travel the road daily from Woodburn to Barney’s River for work and, although it was quiet in the wee hours of the morning around 5:30 or 6 a.m., when he headed home for the day at 5:30 p.m. it was always busy.
“Can’t recall anything this close but you definitely see people pushing the limits trying to get by. Comments on the video from people who drive (the stretch of highway) regularly today are saying they see it one to ten times a week,” he said.
“What you can’t tell from the camera is that it’s at the top of my windshield. I actually didn’t see the Jeep until a couple seconds after the camera captured it. I figured they were going to be able to get back into their lane in time then noticed she wasn’t gaining on the truck quick enough to get over. The red car was still within a car length behind me so I didn’t want to cut them off and I wasn’t sure what way the Jeep was going to react (left into the transfer truck or right into our smaller cars) which was a 50/50 based on their decision making to end up in that spot in the first place. Both me and the truck were able to get over enough to let her through. I was still kind of blown away that someone would try that, it wasn’t even close to the end of the passing lane over a blind hill and double yellow line.”
Fraser added that he agrees with the twinning that Fire Chief Joe MacDonald and supporters have been working so hard for and that this video, taken on July 21, really speaks to the danger of the road that will be twinned.
MacDonald commented that he has seen the video through social media channels and has heard countless other stories such as this one.
“Twinning will eliminate incidents like this. You will not have cars meeting, thus preventing the deadly collisions.”
MacDonald said. “I was overjoyed when I heard. I got word on my birthday that federal funding was approved, which was one of the best gifts I ever got. This deadly stretch of highway will be twinned by 2024. Although everyone wishes it could happen sooner, but the reality is a project this large will take time to complete.”
MacDonald mentioned that he is very thankful to everyone who helped and supported the cause and that it is a testament to what can be done when a province and towns come together for a cause. As of now, shovels are set to break ground in 2019 on the project.
As for what to do before the twinning begins, MacDonald recommends being diligent when driving.
“People should drive to arrive. Please don’t take risky passing and behaviour to try to save a few minutes. The families of those whose lost their loved ones will tell you, a few minutes saved is not worth a life. We would love to have everyone arrive at their destination safely. With summer traffic, passing a few cars will only get you behind more cars.”