News Release Archive

The design of the Highway 104 Western Alignment, and its
construction, meet the highest safety standards demanded by the
government of Nova Scotia for all its 100-series highways, the
independent engineer for the project said today.

"We are completely satisfied that the safety requirements in the
specifications for this highway meet or exceed those the
government has in place for all its 100-series highways," said
Ian Williams, Vice President, McCormick Rankin, the independent
engineering firm hired by the Highway 104 Western Alignment
Corporation to oversee the quality of construction.

"We have an engineer working on site every day whose job is to
monitor compliance with the negotiated contract and construction
is proceeding according to plan," Mr. Williams said.

The independent engineer has the authority to recommend
withholding payment if work is not completed according to the

The province has adopted the highway standards recommended by the
Transportation Association of Canada, and applies them to all
100-series Nova Scotia highways, including the Highway 104
Western Alignment. The geometric design parameters are the
standards that pertain directly to the safety of the highway.
They cover such specifications as speed, gradient, minimum radius
for curves, stopping sight distance, median width, shoulder width
and the distance to obstructions from the roadway. These
parameters are outlined in the Highway 104 Western Alignment
Request for Proposals (RFP) appendices, which have been available
to the public since July, 1995.

"I'm on the site almost every day," says Bob Bieren, project
manager for the Highway 104 Western Alignment Corporation, "and I
can say with confidence that work is meeting the high level of
construction standards specified in the contract."

Freedom of information requests have been filed with the province
to release several of the 104 contracts to which the province is
a party. While the province has agreed to release the documents,
AHC has exercised its rights under the Freedom of Information Act
and challenged that decision in order to protect its interests.
The matter will be heard by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia Feb.

"The Freedom of Information application is proceeding according
to the requirements of the act," said Transportation and Public
Works Minister Don Downe. "We have no problem releasing
construction or design standards for this highway. They are
consistent with the high standards we demand for all of our
highways. However, we must await the decision of the court."

The Nova Scotia government contributed $55 million toward the
$113 million construction cost of the highway. Tolls collected
over the next 30 years will cover the cost of operating and
maintaining the highway. The private sector has assumed the risk
for any financial shortfalls due to low traffic volumes or high
maintenance costs.

Because of the public-private partnership the highway can be
constructed in 20 months. Under traditional funding arrangements,
the highway could have taken as long as 10 years to complete, Mr.
Downe said. The dangerous mix of high-speed through traffic,
including large trucks, and low-speed local traffic, all on two
lanes, will be significantly reduced on the existing 104 after
the twinned, four-lane Western Alignment is opened. Construction
is over half complete, and the highway is on schedule for opening
in December, 1997.


Contact: Susan MacLeod  902-424-2248

         Chris Welner   902-424-8978

NOTE TO EDITORS: Copies of the Highway 104 Western Alignment
"Express Update" are available by calling 1-800-670-4375 or

trp                      Jan. 16, 1997 - 8:45 a.m.