News Release Archive

Upcoming changes to the speed limits on the existing Highway 104
between Masstown and Thomson Station were announced today at the
regular meeting of the Highway 104 Western Alignment's Community
Liaison Committee. These changes will become effective when the
new highway opens in December, 1997.

Officials from the Department of Transportation and Public Works
outlined where the speeds would change and for what distance. In
general, speeds will be reduced by 10 km/h from the current
limits, with the stretch between Mahoney's Corner and Wentworth
remaining at its existing limit of 80 km/h.

While the department acknowledges the speed limits are changing
as part of a contractual obligation with the company building and
operating the new highway, provincial officials point to safety
as the most important factor for both highways.

"There is an urgency to build a new highway through this area for
safety reasons," said Bob Bieren, project manager for the Highway
104 Western Alignment. "No one denies that. Fifty people have
died on this stretch in the past decade."

The 30 km/h speed difference between the two highways was a
concession that made sense, Bieren said. "It keeps fast-moving
through-traffic, such as large trucks, off a winding, two-lane
local road, and puts them on a highway designed specifically for
high speeds. Because of this, there will be two safe routes
through the area come December."

The incompatible mix of through-traffic, including large trucks,
and slower moving local traffic is blamed for many of the
accidents on the area's two-lane Highway 104. Because of the
public-private partnership negotiated with Atlantic Highways
Corporation, a four-lane, wide-median, 45 kilometre highway is
being constructed in 20 months.

With the lowered speed limits, the new weighted average on the
existing Highway 104 is 80 km/h, a reduction of 8 km/h from the
current weighted average. A "weighted" average includes the
distance for each speed limit as a factor in the calculation. For
example, a 50 km stretch with a speed limit of 100 km/h for 40
kilometres and 80 km/h for the remaining 10 kilometres would have
a weighted average speed limit of 96 km/h as opposed to an
average speed limit of 90 km/h. In other words the 100 km/h limit
is given more "weight" in the calculation because it applies for
a longer distance.

A driver going the speed limit will take around 40 minutes to
travel the 54 kilometre stretch. That's about four minutes longer
than it takes driving the current speed limit.

Drivers will be able to use the new highway and cover the 45
kilometre between Thomson Station and Masstown in about 24
minutes driving 110 km/h. That's 16 minutes quicker than the old


NOTE TO EDITORS: A map and chart of speed zones are available by
calling 1-800-670-4357 or 902-424-4492.

Contact: Chris Welner   902-424-8687 or 902-499-0032 (cell) 

         Susan MacLeod  902-424-2248

trp                     Mar. 27, 1997 - 4 p.m.