Macdonald Bridge Bikeway Connectors Project


The Macdonald Bridge Bikeway provides a key connection for cycling between Halifax, Dartmouth, and beyond. Accessing the bikeway from either side of the harbour, however, can be challenging for many. Some of the current challenges include long, steep climbs and busy streets and intersections approaching the Macdonald Bridge. 

In August 2017, Regional Council directed staff to implement changes that make it possible for people of all ages and abilities to access the Macdonald Bridge Bikeway. This project will include structures at either end of the Macdonald Bridge to make it easier for people to access the bikeway on the bridge. To get people to the bridge, 3.5 kilometers of AAA bikeways have been approved in Dartmouth and Halifax.  The full staff report can be found here

The main components of the Bridge Bikeway Connector project include: 

Dartmouth side

Construction is complete for these elements:

  • A bicycle facility on Wyse Road, between Albro Lake Road and Thistle Street. 
  • Improvements for pedestrians and cyclists at the Nantucket, Wyse and Bridgehead intersection.

A connection to downtown Dartmouth, between Thistle and Alderney Landing is being planned.

Graphic rendering of the Macdonald bridge flyover ramp proposed as part of the Bridge Bikeway Connectors project.

Proposed flyover ramp for connecting to the Bridge on the Halifax side.

Halifax side

In 2023 staff initiated a Value Engineering exercise to explore effective and less costly alternatives to improve safe bike access to the Macdonald Bridge Bikeway. This was due to rising costs and concerns about some project elements such as intersection layouts and transit service delay.

The Previous preferred option included:

  • A flyover ramp between the Macdonald Bridge Bikeway and North Street.
  • A bicycle facility on North Street from the end of the flyover ramp to Creighton Street/Northwood Terrace.
  • Transit priority enhancements and improved bus stops.
  • Multi-modal intersection changes.
  • Pedestrian infrastructure improvements.

Alternative options developed in the value engineering process will be brought to Council in Spring 2024 with construction potentially in 2025.

Project History:

December 2017:
Regional Council adopted the Integrated Mobility Plan, which identifies the Macdonald Bridge Bikeway connections as part of the proposed Regional Centre AAA Cycling Network. 

August 2017:
Regional Council approved the implementation of the Macdonald Bridge Bikeway Connectors project, including:

  • The design and construction of a flyover ramp from North Street to the Macdonald Bridge Bikeway.
  • Bike facilities on Wyse Road, North Street, Dickson Street, Faulkner Street, Lyle Street, and Shore Drive.

November 2016:
As part of the planning process, public engagement sessions were held on Nov. 16 and Nov. 17, 2016 and a survey was posted to Shape Your City from Nov. 18 - Dec. 2, 2016. The sessions and surveys were held with the goal to provide information and receive feedback on the concept plans. Information from these engagement sessions can be found here.

September 2015:
Regional Council directed staff to continue planning bridge bikeway access improvements on both sides of the bridge, pursue funding partnerships, and determine requirements for any land use agreements.

September 2014:
Regional Council approved Making Connections: 2014-19 Halifax Active Transportation Priorities Plan. The options proposed in this report support the implementation of this plan in the following ways:

  • Improving access to the Macdonald Bridge Bikeway was identified by the public and stakeholders as their second highest priority project during community engagement for the Plan. (Developing a bicycle network in the Regional Centre was their top priority);
  • The Plan identifies the proposed bicycle routes that would connect to the Macdonald Bridge on the Dartmouth and Halifax sides; and,
  • The plan recommends the development of bicycle infrastructure that is accessible for people of all ages and bicycling abilities (AAA). Currently neither side of the bridge can be considered AAA.