Common Questions

Last updated June 13, 2022

Is construction underway?

Following the pre-construction phase in Fall 2021, fully mobilized construction began in Winter 2022. 

Construction of three by-pass roads is targeted for completion in Fall 2022. By-pass roads 1 and 2 are expected to be complete in Fall 2022, at which time modified routes will be in place. By-pass road #3 is in place.

By-pass roads #1 and #2 will modify north-south traffic through the construction site, while by-pass road #3 will modify east-west traffic. These by-pass roads are necessary to enable construction zones to be set up within the project site. 

How long will construction last?

The project will be constructed in three phases: 

•    Phase I (Fall 2021 – Fall 2023)
•    Phase II (Winter 2023 – Fall 2024)
•    Phase III (Winter 2024 – Fall 2025)

The project is currently in Phase I. 

I travel through downtown Halifax every day. Will this project cause major disruptions?

Dismantling the Cogswell Interchange and building new infrastructure will temporarily disrupt one of the key entrances to downtown Halifax. The long-term benefits of the new Cogswell District will outweigh temporary inconveniences related to construction.  

The municipality hired a traffic consultant to ensure traffic detours through the site are as simple as possible. Traffic management and timely communication of disruptions during the construction phases are essential to the success of the project. The municipality will share information on delays or changes to detours through the construction zone with the public as soon as they become available.

The Cogswell project team has worked with its designers and consultants to coordinate a three-stage buildout for the project that maintains an effective path through the Cogswell corridor at all times during construction. These stages will allow for two lanes north and two lanes south along Barrington/Upper Water streets and two east/westbound lanes through the current Cogswell Street connection.

Are active transportation routes open in the project area during construction?

A plan for a creating a safe cycling route through the project is being worked on and will be finalized before the opening of by-pass roads #1 and #2. Pedestrian routes will be maintained through the project area during construction but may fluctuate over the various construction phases. More details will be provided once the plan has been finalized. 

Once complete, the Cogswell District will include 1.1 km of new curb-separated bike lanes as well as active transportation trails leading into the downtown core with enhanced connections to the Halifax waterfront, Granville Mall and other key downtown landmarks. There will be dedicated bicycle priority crossings at major intersections and property driveways which will incorporate bicycle signals to ensure rider safety. Narrower streets and wider sidewalks lined with treed boulevards create great walking environments throughout the new district. The multi-use trail extends south from Cornwallis Street to Cogswell Street along the western perimeter of the District.

How will Halifax Transit be impacted during construction?

Modifications to transit routes are expected during construction. For the most up-to-date information on service disruptions, residents can visit halifax.ca or follow @hfxtransit on Twitter.

What are some of the highlights of the future Cogswell District?

•    1.1 km of bi-directional protected bikeways set in two linear greenways
•    A multi-use path connecting the north and south ends of the district
•    Two large urban parks and two smaller parks
•    500+ trees
•    A Central urban square with multi-use flexibility anchors the district at the south end
•    A reimagined transit hub on Barrington Street will see a new and inviting space for our many transit users. 
•    A District Energy System will be based on ambient heat recovery from the Halifax Wastewater Treatment Plant and will provide a green energy source for buildings constructed within the Cogswell District. 
•    Specific design elements to enhance overall accessibility have been incorporated within the District and will allow the project to meet gold level certification under the Rick Hansen Certification program. 
•    Social benefits program requires the contractor, Dexter, to meet certain contract provisions that are specific to diverse communities. 
•    Public art 

What will the new Halifax Transit hub look like and how will it improve service?

The transit hub consists of over 550 meters of dedicated curbside transit lanes along Barrington Street. A condensed transit hub centers on Barrington, Bell and Hollis streets with pedestrian linkages through Granville Plaza to the waterfront and ferry terminal. New street lights, bus shelters and street furniture will make this an inviting and safe place to use transit services.

Is there a re-routing plan for trucks during construction?

The project team has worked with its designers and consultants to coordinate a three-stage buildout for the project that maintains an effective path through the Cogswell corridor at all times during construction. These stages will allow for two lanes north and two lanes south along Barrington/Upper Water streets and two east/westbound lanes through the current Cogswell Street connection. These roads will be available to provide vehicle and heavy truck access and throughout the entire project.

How will redevelopment impact neighbouring landowners and communities?

Over a number of years, the project team has met and continues to meet with a wide group of external stakeholders to discuss the project and help minimize impacts during the construction period. The project team will continue to share updates with and listen to stakeholders throughout the lifecycle of the project. 

Additionally, staff and community groups developed contract requirements in the tender that aim to achieve social benefits/impacts for African Nova Scotian and Mi’kmaw community groups and other equity seeking groups. For more information, read the staff report.

What is the anticipated land and building use for the parcels that will become available as a result of the Cogswell District project?

As with any proposed development, future developments will be subject to the municipal planning application process. Given the duration of this project, future market demands will have some impact on land uses. Market studies will be reviewed and updated over time to ensure the appropriate uses are enabled based on the needs of the community at the time development is implemented. Land uses and building heights are governed by the existing DH zoning on the site.

Is a district energy plan part of the Cogswell District project?

On June 30, 2021, the federal and provincial governments announced funding support for the Cogswell District Energy System. The project will support a district energy system that supplies renewable energy from the nearby Halifax Wastewater Treatment Facility’s wastewater effluent to six mixed-use buildings within the district.

How much will the Cogswell District project cost taxpayers?

The completion of the Cogswell District project is expected to cost approximately $122.6 million (gross) and span fiscal years 2021-22 to 2024-25.  

This project has the potential to be primarily self-funded in the long term once construction is over and the redevelopment of the area is completed. The sale of land, utility cost sharing, and the subsequent property taxes will help off-set the front-end investment and generate long-term recurring revenue for the municipality. 

The initial estimate for the cost of the redevelopment was $65 million in 2014 and was based on the high level conceptual plan for the Cogswell District. Updated estimates were prepared by professional cost consultants and presented during in-camera sessions to Regional Council at both the 60 per cent and 90 per cent design stages. The estimated cost for the redevelopment had increased from what was presented in 2014. This was expected to occur as the design progressed through the more detailed phases. Similarly, updates to the real estate assessment report revealed the projected revenues from the development blocks created by the project also had increased. 

How is the project managed to help prevent cost and time overruns?

The municipality has hired a project director with experience successfully delivering projects of a similar scope and complexity. This role will improve oversight, accountability, pre-planning and risk management. Additionally, key consultants have been retained to ensure cost and performance concerns are monitored and addressed.

Have there been any time and cost overruns to date?

Delays in beginning construction were encountered in the late fall 2021/early winter 2022 as a result of:

a) utility infrastructure not being located where expected;

b) unanticipated time frames to relocate  existing utility (telecommunication) infrastructure ; and

c) new opportunities to repair existing infrastructure causing delays due to re-design requirements.

A revised project schedule has been submitted by the construction company and is currently under review by the project team.  Any significant deviations in schedule and resulting impacts, will be reported separately to Regional Council.

The project is on budget at this time.

What is the Cogswell District project?

The Cogswell District project is a multi-year, multi-phase project designed to connect downtown Halifax with the north end and waterfront, creating a stronger, more inclusive network of communities. The Cogswell District project will convert 16 acres of road infrastructure into a mixed-use neighborhood, extending the entrance of the downtown northwards and reuniting communities separated by the interchange lands. The urban street grid will be reinstated and will create development blocks capable of supporting new residential and commercial environments for 2,500 people. High quality dedicated cycling lanes, multi-use trails, new parks and open spaces, a reimagined transit hub, and a significant central urban square will transform this traffic-centric area into a livable pedestrian friendly area for people to live, work, and play. 

The current Cogswell Interchange is a piece of road infrastructure in downtown Halifax that was built as part of the Harbour Drive Transportation Plan. The plan was abruptly cancelled in 1971, leaving the interchange as an orphaned piece of an unfinished expressway. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the interchange saw approximately 55,000 vehicle-trips a day and operates at 55-70 per cent of its potential capacity.

Who will be conducting the work at the Cogswell District site?

The Cogswell District project construction tender was awarded to Dexter Construction Limited during the September 14, 2021 Regional Council meeting.