WAVERLEY: A local company is one of two who has been awarded the contract by the province for the twinning of a dangerous section of a Nova Scotia highway between Pictou County and Antigonish.

In a release on May 8, the provincial government said a consortium of Dexter Nova Alliance, led by Dexter Construction and Nova Construction, with BBGI as an equity partner, was selected among the three bids received for the $717.9 million project.

The province calls it another significant step toward making the highway–38 kilometres in total–between Sutherland’s River, Pictou Co. and Antigonish safer for motorists.

Construction will start in June and will be completed no later than the end of 2023.

“This project will save lives,” said Lloyd Hines, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal in the release. “Nova Scotians were clear that they want safe roads now.

“This will mean a safer, affordable and more efficient highway being opened years earlier than a conventional highway project.”

The Highway 104 project consists of construction of a twinned highway beginning east of New Glasgow, near Exit 27 at Sutherlands River, and running east for a distance of 38 kilometres.

The project includes 28 kilometres of new two-lane twinned highway and 10 kilometres of new four- lane twinned highway. There are two new interchanges and about 24 new bridges. 

Dexter Nova Alliance will also upgrade the existing section of highway, which will include repaving the entire section of old road and replace seven existing bridges.

The federal government is contributing $90 million to the project under the National Trade Corridors Fund.

“This is great news. It is a dream come true to see this project now becoming a reality. This will mean a lot to have a safer road from Sutherlands River to Antigonish. I believe many lives will be saved.”
     – Joe MacDonald, chief of Barneys River Volunteer Fire Department.

Quick Facts:
— the project will result in a continuous twinned Highway 104 from the New Brunswick border to Antigonish, just west of Exit 31
— the proponent will take over ongoing operating and maintenance responsibilities for the twinned portion of the highway and another 25 kilometres of existing highway. That includes snow removal, pothole repair and any repaving that may be required over the 20-year agreement
— total cost of the project is $717.9 million, which includes $364.3 million for construction and $196.4 million for ongoing operations and maintenance and a major upgrade of the existing stretch of highway during the 20-year operating period. Insurance, professional fees and financing and other costs make up the remainder of the total
— a request for qualification was issued on July 23, 2018 resulting in a shortlist of three bidders. The shortlisted bidders were invited to submit proposals, which were received Nov. 20, 2019. Dexter Nova Alliance was identified as the preferred proponent on Jan. 31, 2020
— the request for proposals and a project development report will be released publicly later this spring following a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act review. The project agreement will also be released

Additional Resources:
Nova Scotia’s Five-Year Highway Improvement Plan: