What is the Cogswell Interchange?
The 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. The interchange sees approximately 55,000 vehicle-trips a day and operates at 55-70 per cent of its potential capacity.
How long will the entire redevelopment project take?
Barring any unforeseen substantial delays, street construction will be finished by 2021. Development of newly created lots will not be fully realized until several years after street infrastructure construction has concluded.
When will the design be finalized?
Design work is expected to reach 90 per cent completion by mid 2018. Once approved, construction will soon follow.
When will construction start and how long will it take?
Construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2018. The tentative plan is for construction to be done in multiple phases spanning approximately three years. Barring any substantial delays, street construction will be finished by 2021.
I travel through downtown Halifax every day. Will this project cause major disruptions?
Dismantling the Cogswell Interchange and building new infrastructure will temporarily disturb one of the key entrances to downtown Halifax. The municipality hired a traffic consultant to ensure traffic detours are simple, clear and orderly. Traffic management and timely communication of disruptions during the construction phases will be essential to the success of the project. The municipality will share information on delays or detours with the public as soon as they become available.
How much will the Cogswell Redevelopment Project cost taxpayers?
This project has the potential to be self-funded in the long term once construction is over and the redevelopment of the area is completed. The sale of newly available land and the subsequent property taxes will off-set the front-end investment and generate long term recurring revenue for the city.
The initial cost for the redevelopment is estimated at $65 million. The work by the prime design consultant will confirm the actual costs once construction is closer to commencing. The 2017/18 capital budget includes reserve funding for the next four years to cover front-end expenses.
Who owns and maintains the Cogswell Interchange?
The land is owned and maintained by the municipality with cost sharing from the Province of Nova Scotia for two of the existing structures.
What is the Cogswell Lands Plan?
The Cogswell Lands Plan is a redevelopment strategy produced by Ekistics Planning and Design that balances municipal engineering, urban design, active transportation and economic objectives into a conceptual renewal of the Cogswell Interchange. The plan references a range of historic studies and takes guidance from approved municipal policies found in the Regional Plan, Downtown Municipal Planning Strategy and municipal Economic Strategy. This report was further informed through a stakeholder and public engagement program led by the Strategic Urban Partnership (Cogswell Shake Up). The complete plan was approved by Regional Council along with staff’s recommended option in 2014.
The Cogswell Lands Plan and supporting research demonstrate how the areas around the interchange could be reconnected to the downtown. This includes Gottingen Street, Brunswick Street, Halifax Common, the naval dockyard, Halifax waterfront, Historic Properties, downtown Halifax and Citadel Hill. The detailed design plans will build on Cogswell Lands Plan to specifically determine how urban design elements, improved multi-modal transportation networks, new public spaces and the reduction of car-oriented infrastructure can help increase downtown livability and vibrancy
Who will be conducting the work at the Cogswell site?
John Spinelli started as project director of the Cogswell Redevelopment Project in September 2015. Donna Davis joined the team as project manager in January 2017. The office will also be staffed with outside consultants and supported by municipal staff.
In September 2016, Regional Council awarded the contract for the prime design consultant to WSP/MMM Group. This major project milestone establishes a highly-skilled and experienced consultant team that will support delivery of the detailed design components. Early in the design phase, CBCL was hired as the traffic engineering consultant.
Is the existing Cogswell Interchange safe to use?
Yes. The condition of all municipal road infrastructure is monitored on a regular basis.
If it’s safe, why don’t we keep the interchange?
The interchange doesn’t enhance livability in the regional centre. The structure is over-built and will eventually require substantial investments. Redevelopment is the best option to accommodate traffic movement, enhance community connectivity and release land for development that will strengthen the population base and increase economic activity in the downtown core.
Will vehicles be able to use the interchange during construction?
One of the most important deliverables during the design phase will be for the prime design consultant and the traffic engineering consultant to compile a construction staging plan that will, to the fullest extent possible, retain current vehicle routes throughout the demolition and construction phases. Alternative routes will only be utilized if the present Cogswell roadways are not available.
How will redevelopment affect neighbouring landowners and communities?
The Cogswell redevelopment team continues to meet with a wide group of external stakeholders to discuss the project and help minimize the impact during the demolition and construction period. There is significant goodwill towards the concept of redevelopment and it is important these groups continue to be engaged to ensure their concerns are understood by the design team.
How will the project be 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.
What is the Status of the Project?
In June of 2017, the Cogswell Steering Committee approved the 30 per cent design development status, which approved the road network layout, alternative transportation and transit initiatives, as well as the location of the proposed development blocks. The design team is currently working on the 60 per cent design development which will focus on finalization of public open spaces, the logistics of underground infrastructure and service continuity, as well as project phasing and construction logistics.
Will there be opportunities for active transportation infrastructure?
Yes. The 30 per cent design development outlines the new active transportation infrastructure including three kilometers of new bi-directional grade-separated bike lanes and active transportation trails leading into downtown Halifax.
What is the anticipated use for the land that will become available as a result of the Cogswell Redevelopment Project?
In addition to the newly created street network, active transportation paths and parks and open spaces, it’s anticipated that new development parcels would include primarily residential uses with other uses included to support residents of the area and generate destination-type activities for those outside the area. Any future developments are subject to the municipal planning application process, including public engagement and Regional Council approval. Given the long timeline of this project, future market demands will have an impact on land usages.
What is the plan for releasing the six acres of land for development? How will this affect other developments in the Halifax region?
Development of newly created lots will not be fully realized until several years after the street infrastructure construction wraps up in 2021.
The municipality will review future market studies, as required, to ensure the land released can be properly adsorbed by the prevailing future real estate markets. This will ensure other developments are not adversely affected by the introduction of new development capacity. It is anticipated that the program’s development will ultimately promote additional growth in the areas surrounding the Cogswell development blocks.
Will the public have a say in what happens at the Cogswell site?
Regional Council has already approved the conceptual street network and block configuration. There will be further opportunities for public engagement on other aspects of the project, such as new open space design, active transportation elements and planning and development regulations.
Is a district energy plan part of the Cogswell Redevelopment Project?
District energy systems produce steam, hot water, warm water or chilled water at a central plant, which is then piped underground to individual buildings for space heating, domestic hot water heating and air conditioning. Those buildings served by a district energy system can eliminate or reduce the need for their own boilers, furnaces, chillers or air conditioners, as the system can do that work for them. The setup provides valuable benefits, including improved energy efficiency and environmental protection.
District energy appears to be a natural extension of the Cogswell Redevelopment Project. Project staff and Halifax Water are actively engaging in the development of a plan to utilize waste heat from the sewage treatment plan as a potential district energy source for the buildings to be developed on the Cogswell Interchange and beyond.