Lantz Interchange officially opened

The Lantz Interchange officially opened to motorists shortly before sunset on Dec. 23. (Healey photo)

LANTZ: Residents of Lantz have received an early Christmas gift.As of 4 p.m. on Dec. 23, the $28 million Lantz Interchange officially opened to the motoring public, creating what an engineer who headed up the project termed as an incredible addition for the community.

In an interview with The Laker News via phone about an hour before the interchange was to officially open, Stephanie Warren said they were slightly ahead of schedule in getting the project completed. The contract had called for a completion date of Dec. 30, 2021.

“I’m saying it’s an early Christmas gift to the community,” said Warren.

She the work was completed despite issues that would come up as they do on any major project of this magnitude, and with COVID-19 restrictions thrown requiring distancing and masking. That led to many video meetings and telephone conversations that would have been in person.

“I’ve been working on this project that since construction started in August 2019,” she said. “There was pre-engineering work for many months, years before that construction started.

“In the middle of 2020 we have the COVID-19 pandemic hit. It was challenging for everybody you know in the province, and then we have this multi-million project dollar project going and we’re trying to deliver it in a timely fashion and maintain social, physical distancing and masking.”

The road to connect with Hwy 102 is called the Lantz Connector (Exit 8A), with a road off of it named Alan Shaw Blvd.

The completed project also includes:

— four new ramps forming a diamond interchange
— a roundabout at each intersection of on- and off-ramps
— a kilometre-long controlled access connector road linking Highway 102 to Hwy 2
— a roundabout at Hwy 2
— two new three-lane bridges over Nine Mile River on Highway 102
— widening of both the northbound and southbound lanes of Highway 102.

MLA John A. MacDonald, on behalf of Public Works Minister Kim Masland, said the new Interchange will improve the traffic situation in the Corridor area.

“It will help families, residents and visitors reach their destinations more safely and efficiently,” said MacDonald in a release.

The project saw each the provincial and federal governments contribute $14 million.

Kings-Hants MP Kody Blois, who’s predecessor Scott Brison got the ball rolling on the project, said he was proud of the investment made by his government towards the Lantz Interchange.

“This will help reduce commuting times for residents and has also served as an economic catalyst for the area,” he said. “We have already seen a significant growth in residential and commercial development since the announcement of the interchange, which bodes well for East Hants in the days ahead.”

Warren felt the new Lantz Interchange would help to stimulate the area economy and provide a safer commute.

“The roads here have been congested as most people know in this community for a little while,” she said. “Since I’ve been out here it’s been noticeably an issue, and this is going to be just a boon to the community.

“I can’t wait to see this open and see the first car going down it.”

She didn’t have to wait long, as when The Laker News arrived and did their Facebook live, several vehicles were already making use of it.

The smiling faces of drivers showed how happy they were to have it finally able to be used.