Fall 2022 target date for Wellington Connector completion

The Wellington Connector is set to be open to traffic by fall 2022. (TIR photo)

WELLINGTON: While the project is currently on hold to get more information gathered, an official with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (TIR) said the aim is to have the Wellington Connector completed by the Fall of 2022.

TIR communication spokeswoman Deborah Bayer said the project is currently on hold. There had been some clearing work done in the past couple of months at the site, adjacent to Hwy 2 and Oaken Hills in Wellington.

“TIR is in the process of preparing additional information requested by NS Department of Environment for the environmental assessment,” said Bayer.

In an Oct. 17, 2019 story published on The Laker website, a TIR spokeswoman said at that time that “the project is running on schedule. Construction is expected to start next year, pending environmental assessment approval.”

For the project, the feds are contributing $10 million to the construction of the Wellington/Aerotech Connector; while the province is contributing $11.2 million to cover the $21 million project. It will be five kilometres in length.

A public open house was held in April 2019 in Wellington which saw residents voice concerns of blasting impact on residents’ wells in Oaken Hills; noise from transport trucks along the road; impact on the environment; and the speed limit.

In November 2019 it was learned that the project could be delayed up to a year-plus after then Environment Minister Gordon Wilson released a decision saying he required more information for the projects Environmental Assessment. Wilson said in the post on Oct. 30 on the TIR website that the Registration Document provided was insufficient to allow him to decide.

“I require additional information,” said Wilson. “Specifically, the review determined that the following additional information is required in order to evaluate potential environmental effects that may be caused by the undertaking.”

Bayer said clearing at the site should resume shortly.

“We anticipate being in a position to resume clearing later this year and begin construction in 2021,” said Bayer. “It is planned as a two-year project with completion by Fall 2022.”

The connector will include two roundabouts, one of which is still in the planning stages, for near Sunylea Drive.