The Windsor Street Exchange redevelopment project involves the redesign of the intersection of Bedford Highway, Windsor Street and Lady Hammond Road. As one of five roadway access points to the Halifax Peninsula and the downtown core, approximately 48,000 vehicles per day travel through this area, and the Windsor Street Exchange is currently operating above its available capacity during peak travel periods. As a result, road users regularly experience significant delays and other operational challenges which have a negative impact on the road network, including on Joseph Howe Drive (Highway 102) and the Bedford Highway.
This congestion also has a significant impact on the overall efficiency and reliability of freight movements to and from the Fairview Cove Container Terminal (FCCT), and the project will improve truck access to FCCT, allowing for increased freight capacity through the Port of Halifax. The project will also allow for the expansion of Active Transportation connections and transit priority measures through the Windsor Street Exchange.
Halifax Regional Municipality, in partnership with the Province of Nova Scotia and the Port of Halifax, submitted a proposal to redevelop the Windsor Street Exchange to the National Trade Corridors Fund (NTCF). Transport Canada evaluated projects on specific trade-related criteria, as well as the extent to which a project would add capacity or address bottlenecks near major ports, airports, or along road and rail corridors in Canada that contribute to generating or increasing overseas trade.
A concept for the Windsor Street Exchange redevelopment was submitted to Transport Canada in May 2019. The concept confirmed that a reconfiguration of the transportation network could meet the goals of the NTCF program, and on June 2, 2019, the Minister for Transport announced that the Windsor Street Exchange project, along with a complementary project by the Port of Halifax, had been approved.
On August 13, 2019, when authorizing the contribution agreement with Transport Canada, Regional Council directed staff to explore whether community benefits could be part of the selection of a preferred concept.
- Phase 1 of public engagement for the project was held in April/May 2021, and gathered information on the existing conditions within the project area, how residents travel through the area, documented concerns from residents, businesses and property owners in the area, and identified what people want to see in the redesign of the Windsor Street Exchange. The project design consultant, WSP Canada, has been using this information to develop design options for the project.
- The design process is expected to take two years, with a final design ready in 2023. Construction is expected to take two to three years, and is expected to begin in 2024. Further status updates will be provided throughout the design process.
- Public engagement is an important component of the design process, and Phase 2 of public engagement will begin in October 2021. This engagement phase will share design options for the project, and gather feedback from the public and stakeholders. The feedback from this engagement will be used to make decisions on the preliminary design, which is expected to be shared in Spring 2022. Details of upcoming public engagement opportunities will be shared on the Shape your City project page.
- The project team has been exploring the potential of including community benefits as part of the project. Due to the proximity of the project to the historic Africville community, community meetings will be held with the Africville community to identify concerns and opportunities associated with the project. The Mi'kmaq are the founding people of Nova Scotia, and meetings will be held with the Mi’kmaq and Urban Indigenous communities to identify opportunities with the project.
- Who is involved in this project?
The Halifax Regional Municipality has partnered with Transport Canada through funding under the National Trade Corridors Fund (NCTF), as well as the Province of Nova Scotia and the Port of Halifax. Funding was announced in June of 2019. The municipality is leading the project.
- What is the National Trade Corridors Fund?
Transport Canada launched the National Trade Corridors Fund (NTCF) in July of 2017. The fund provides $2 billion over 11 years towards projects across Canada that support the flow of goods and passengers by reducing bottlenecks, addressing capacity issues, and helping transportation systems withstand the effects of climate change.
The NTCF will contribute $23.5 million to the Windsor Street Exchange Redevelopment project. Funding for this project will also be provided by the Halifax Regional Municipality, the Port of Halifax, and the Province of Nova Scotia.
- When will public consultation take place?
Public engagement will be held throughout the design process. Phase 1 of public engagement was held in April/May 2021, and gathered information on the existing conditions within the project area, how residents travel through the area, documented concerns from residents, businesses and property owners in the area, and identified what people want to see in the redesign of the Windsor Street Exchange. This information has been used to develop design options for the project, which will be shared in Phase 2 of public engagement beginning October 2021. Phase 3 of public engagement will share the preliminary design drawings based on functional design and feedback gathered during previous sessions, and is expected to be held in Spring 2022.
- What are community benefits?
Community benefits are a way to increase the social impact of a municipal capital project. Benefits that could be included as part of infrastructure projects vary for each project based on the scope of the project, the impact of the project, and the opportunities identified through community consultation. They could include community improvements through design, such as active transportation connections and infrastructure upgrades, social procurement and environmental improvements.
- Will consultation with the community be done?
Two types of consultation will be held. Consultation with the Africville, the Mi’kmaq and Urban Indigenous communities will identify potential opportunities to include community benefits as part of the Windsor Street Exchange project. Wider public engagement will also begin in April 2021 as part of the design process to share options, and receive public input on the concerns and opportunities with this transportation project.
Public consultation will be done primarily virtually to meet public health restrictions; however, the project team will also be identifying alternate ways of reaching out to ensure that engagement is fully accessible.
- When will public consultation take place?
Public engagement will continue to be held throughout the design process.
- When will construction begin?
Construction is expected to take two to three years, and is scheduled to begin in 2025. Further details on construction will be available after the design process is complete.
- How will these changes benefit residents and motorists in the municipality?
These upgrades will improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of primary transportation routes, and most importantly – alleviate a longstanding bottleneck in the transportation network.
The project will also further the municipality’s Integrated Mobility Plan’s goals of reducing port-related trucks traffic and traffic-related noise, improving safety, transit service, active transportation connectivity, and reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
- What environmental impacts will this project have?
This project will reduce congestion at this long-standing bottle neck, lowering GHG emissions, and provide improved sustainable modes of transportation (active transportation and transit) through the area. A climate change risk-assessment is planned for the project which will be integrated into the design process.
- What is the municipality’s involvement in the Marine Container Examination Facility project?
The Halifax Regional Municipality, in partnership with the Province of Nova Scotia and the Port of Halifax, submitted a proposal to the National Trade Corridors Fund (NTCF) to complete the Windsor Street Exchange Redevelopment project. The Port of Halifax submitted a proposal in partnership with the Halifax Regional Municipality, the Province of Nova Scotia and CN to the NTCF to complete a complementary project which includes the Marine Container Examination Facility. Each project was awarded $23.5 million by The National Trade Corridor Fund.
Collaboration between the Port of Halifax and the Halifax Regional Municipality will take place as these complementary projects move through the planning and design phases. The shared goal is to improve the flow of people and goods through this important corridor.
- Is this project related to the potential land exchange with the Halifax Port Authority & the Africville Heritage Trust regarding property adjacent to the Africville Museum?
Although discussions with the Halifax Port Authority and Africville Heritage Trust regarding the potential future use of these lands are not directly tied to the Windsor Street Exchange project, there are interrelationships that must be considered due to the close geographic proximity. Learn more about the potential land exchange here.
- Is this project related to the Africville Active Transportation project?
These are two separate projects however, there are interrelationships that must be considered due to the close geographic proximity. Learn more about the Africville Active Transportation Project here.
- How does the Windsor Street Exchange project impact other transportation projects in the area?
- The Windsor Street Exchange project is coordinating with the Bedford Highway 60% Design project, and will consider the completed Bedford Highway Functional Plan throughout the design process. The designs for both projects will intersect at the Fairview Overpass.
- The Africville Active Transportation project is exploring options for an active transportation connection to Africville Museum and Africville Park from North End Halifax. The Windsor Street Exchange public engagement will be integrated with the Africville Active Transportation Connection project, as well as through consultation with the Africville community on the project scope and potential community benefits.
- How does the recently approved Rapid Transit Strategy fit into the project?
The Rapid Transit Strategy, approved by Regional Council in May 2020, includes the “Green Line” through the Windsor Street Exchange. How transit moves through the area will be considered when evaluating design options for the Windsor Street Exchange Redevelopment Project.
- Will road safety be reviewed as part of the study?
Collision history will be reviewed and analyzed as part of the study to improve access, connectivity and comfort for all users. Opportunities to improve safety through design and operational changes will be identified during the design process as the project progresses.
- How will this impact how I travel by vehicle in the area?
Assessing impacts to vehicles travelling in the area through functional design options of the corridor is part of the project. The team will be modeling existing vehicle conditions and any impacts related to the proposed changes, as well as modeling options for the redesign of the Windsor Street Exchange and the impact on the overall transportation network.
- What does Complete Streets mean?
Complete Streets are planned, designed, and maintained to make travel safe, convenient, and comfortable for people of all ages and abilities and using all transportation modes. The Windsor Street Exchange is an important link for all modes of transportation (active transportation, transit, vehicle traffic and goods movement), and the redesign will improve the people moving capacity of the intersection.