Você está na página 1de 63

Report

Cross Harbour Traffic


Needs Assessment

Prepared for:

Halifax Dartmouth Bridge Commission


Prepared by: McCormick Rankin Corporation
In association with:
OHalloran Campbell Consultants Limited
Buckland Taylor Ltd., and
Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc.

March 2008

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

Table of contents
List of Figures ........................................................................................... iv
List of Tables .............................................................................................v
Introduction ...............................................................................................1
1.1 Context ...............................................................................................1
1.2 Project Scope and Approach..................................................................1
1.3 Report Organization..............................................................................2
Part One Implications of Regional Growth .................................................3
2.1 Some Background ................................................................................3
2.2 Travel Demand ....................................................................................4
2.2.1 Existing Cross-Harbour Capacity ..................................................4
2.2.2 Network Constraints ...................................................................5
2.2.3 Historic Traffic Growth................................................................6
2.3 Looking Ahead: Growth Projections........................................................8
2.3.1 Objective...................................................................................8
2.3.2 Methodology and Results ............................................................8
2.3.3 Population .................................................................................8
2.3.4 Employment ............................................................................ 10
2.3.5 Growth Allocation..................................................................... 11
2.4 Planned Network Improvements .......................................................... 12
2.5 Transportation Modeling ..................................................................... 13
2.5.1 A Brief Overview of the Modelling Process .................................. 13
2.5.2 A Note on Transit Use............................................................... 13
2.6 Building and Validating the Transportation Demand Model..................... 15
2.7 Modelled Network Improvements and Timing ....................................... 16
2.8 What was Modelled ............................................................................ 17
2.9 Planning Level Analysis: Cross-Harbour Desire Lines.............................. 17
2.9.1 Overview................................................................................. 17
2.9.2 2001 Desire Line Patterns ......................................................... 18
2.9.3 Comparison of 2001 and 2036 Desire Lines ................................ 19
2.10 Detailed Analysis: Need and Timing for Crossing Capacity .................... 20
2.10.1 Some Background .................................................................. 20
2.10.2 Supply and Demand Evaluation ............................................... 20
2.10.3 Travel Times Under Congested Conditions ................................ 22
2.10.4 A Critical Point: Operating Near Capacity .................................. 23
2.10.5 Thoughts on Mobility and Economic Development ..................... 24
2.11 Capacity Needs Across the Harbour (2036) ......................................... 24
2.11.1 Background ........................................................................... 24
2.11.2 Discussion ............................................................................. 28
2.11.2.1 Differences Created by Different Modal Split Assumptions ....... 28
2.11.2.2 Differences Created by Different Locations............................. 29

ii

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

Part Two
3.1
3.2
3.3
3.4

3.5

3.6

3.7
3.8

Available Technologies ....................................................................... 30


Long Span Bridges ............................................................................. 30
Tunnels............................................................................................. 32
Initial Development of Options ............................................................ 33
3.4.1 Agency Consultation................................................................. 33
3.4.2 Long List................................................................................. 34
3.4.3 The Need to Reduce ................................................................ 35
3.4.4 Short List ................................................................................ 35
3.4.5 Second Agency Consultation ..................................................... 36
3.4.5 Second Agency Consultation ..................................................... 37
3.4.6 Formal Evaluation Results......................................................... 37
3.4.7 Client Review and Direction ...................................................... 38
3.4.7.1 Woodside Bridge................................................................... 38
3.4.7.2 Woodside Tunnel .................................................................. 41
3.4.7.3 Bus Rapid Transit Circuit........................................................ 41
3.4.7.4 Outcome of Discussions with Steering Committee .................... 42
The North End MacKay Bridge Twinning Option .................................... 42
3.5.1 Fundamental Considerations ..................................................... 42
3.5.2 Servicing Demand.................................................................... 44
3.5.4 Concluding Thoughts on the North Crossing Option .................... 46
Evaluation of Candidate Alternatives .................................................... 47
3.6.1 Highway 111 Woodside Bridge Crossing Option .......................... 47
3.6.2 The Highway 111 Woodside Tunnel Option ................................ 48
3.6.3 Cut and Cover Connection to Robie Street.................................. 53
3.6.4 Final Option Evaluation............................................................. 53
A challenge and an opportunity........................................................... 56
Monitoring......................................................................................... 57

Part Three

McCormick Rankin Corporation

Crossing the Harbour............................................................... 30

Concluding Thoughts ............................................................ 58

iii

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

List of Figures
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure

iv

Network capacity constraints in Halifax and Dartmouth................6


Total Annual Bridge Crossings (1981-2006) ................................7
Regional Population Projection to 2036 ......................................9
2036 Employment Growth Projections to 2036 .......................... 10
Relative Distribution of New Population and Employment (2036)11
Transit Use Share (2001 and 2026) as assumed in the HRM
Regional Plan ........................................................................ 15
7 Screenline Locations Map ....................................................... 16
8 Baseline 2001 Desire Lines Total Daily Vehicle Trips ............... 18
9 2036 Desire Lines Total Daily Vehicle Trips ............................ 19
10 Travel Time Implications Without Additional Capacity (18%
Transit)................................................................................. 22
11 Scenario 1A - North Crossing Traffic Volume (18%)................. 25
12 Scenario 1B - North Crossing Traffic Volume (23% Transit)...... 26
13 Scenario 2A - South Crossing Traffic Volume (18%) ................ 27
14 Scenario 2B - South Crossing Traffic Volume (23%) ................ 28
15 Bridge Diagrams: Macdonald (top; built 1955) and MacKay
(1970) .................................................................................. 30
16 Sutong Bridge, China ............................................................ 30
17 Bosporus Bridge, Istanbul...................................................... 31
18 Jet fans are replacing Ventilation structures in long tunnels...... 32
19 Tunnel Boring Machine Breaking Through............................... 32
20 Entrance to the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel (1928). ...................... 33
21 Typical Dual Bore Tunnel Cross-Section .................................. 33
22 Agency Consultation, Lord Nelson Hotel, July 31, 2007 ............ 37
23 Evaluation Results Short List of Crossing Options.................. 38
24 Potential Bus Rapid Transit Circuit.......................................... 41
25 North End Crossing: required infrastructure improvements....... 44
26 Results of the all-or-nothing model runs (yellow lines represent
crossing locations) ................................................................. 45
27 Woodside Bridge Option (plan and profile).............................. 49
28 Woodside Tunnel Option (plan and profile) ............................. 51
1
2
3
4
5
6

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

List of Tables
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table

McCormick Rankin Corporation

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8

Road Access and Capacity Share to Halifax Peninsula................... 4


Existing PM Peak Hour Bridge Demand and Capacity.................... 5
Number of Days Exceeding 100,000 Bridge Crossings (1999-2005) 7
Historic and projected regional population change (2001-2036) .. 10
Screenline Locations for VISUM Modelling ................................. 15
Location and configuration of interim network improvements...... 16
What was Modelled ................................................................. 17
Regional Transportation Model Districts Illustrated in Desire Line
Analysis ................................................................................ 17
9 Changes in Cross-Harbour Demand .......................................... 20
10 Existing Bridges v/c Ratios by Transit Scenario......................... 21
11 Incident-related Bridge Capacity Sensitivity Analysis................. 23
12 Typical Bridge Requirements and Considerations...................... 31
13 Summary Table: Long List of Crossing Location Options and
Methods ............................................................................... 35
14 Summary Table: Long List of Crossing Location Options and
Methods ............................................................................... 36
15 Summary of SWOT Analysis Findings ...................................... 39
16 North End Crossing Infrastructure modifications.................... 43
17 Comparison of 2036 Cross-Harbour Yearly Emissions................ 46
18 Final List of Crossing Options.................................................. 54
19 Evaluation Scores - Final Crossing Options............................... 55

Introduction

1.1 Context
The Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission (HDBC) has been serving the region since
1950 when it was created by a statute of the Province of Nova Scotia. The Commission
is mandated to construct, maintain and operate bridges across the harbour. As of
20051, it may now also share its electronic tolling capabilities with other agencies that
use similar electronic collection systems.
After a study to determine the bridge capacities, completed by Delphi MRC in 2005, the
Commission in 2007 concluded that it was prudent at this time to consider the need
and timing for additional cross-harbour capacity based on a strategic level analysis of
demand. As a result a call for the present study was made, and the result is this report.
The main goal of this study was to explore the need for a third crossing of Halifax
Harbour to meet expected demand in the future. If such a need was evident, a second
key objective of our work was to predict the timing of the need. In this way it was
hoped that sufficient lead time could be provided to allow detailed consultation,
planning, design, and construction activities to be completed before traffic congestion
levels on the bridges and the parts of the network providing access to them become
unacceptable.
The final purpose of the study was to identify an optimal location for the crossing, if
deemed necessary, and to identify what type of crossing would be most appropriate
whether a bridge or a tunnel.
To remain consistent with the intent of the Halifax Regional Plan (2006), the study also
contains options to integrate more intensive use of transit either on the present
infrastructure or as part of a new crossing.
Halifax Harbour is famous as one of the finest natural harbours in the world, offering
ice-free conditions year-round, a short passage to European ports, ample anchorage,
and deep waters. As a result, development around the harbour is intensive, and there
are competing demands for its use. Road transportation is a crucial component of the
Regions economy that supports these harbour activities as well as many other
businesses, institutions, military installations, and key tourism and cultural endeavours
in the Halifax Region. Providing adequate harbour crossing capacity for car traffic,
goods movement, transit, pedestrians, and bicyclists is in turn a key element of the
Regions roadway network that links these dispersed but substantive economic
activities into a single interdependent and vital economic and infrastructure gateway to
our country.
1.2 Project Scope and Approach
This is a strategic analysis looking specifically at cross-harbour travel demand based on
population and employment growth projections to 2036. It does not consider other
access to the Halifax Peninsula. Transit and sustainability considerations are a central
1

New enabling legislation, the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission Act (Bill No. 198), received Royal Assent on May 19, 2005.

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

consideration of the work, but we do not attempt to address the particular effect of
waterborne modes such as fast ferries.
McCormick Rankin Corporation was engaged to undertake this study on behalf of the
HDBC and our approach was based on the understanding that the study conclusions
would have to rely on both quantitative and qualitative inputs. As a result, we took a
highly technical approach to the analysis of bridge and approach road capacity, travel
demand modelling, costing, traffic handling, and so forth. At the same time, knowing
the significant impacts that a major bridge can have on neighbourhoods, port and
harbour use, views and aesthetics, we have taken a carefully focused consultative
approach by speaking with key institutional and agency users of the harbour, as well as
planners and others with a professional interest in this regard. At a later date, we
expect that the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission will begin broader discussions
about our findings among members of the public at large. For this reason, we have
attempted to provide simple-language explanation wherever possible throughout this
report.
1.3 Report Organization
This report is presented in two parts. Part 1 starts with a review of the 2006 Halifax
Regional Plan implications, planned road network improvements during our planning
period, and travel demand projections for that same timeline. It offers a technical
analysis of traffic and capacity limitations, and discusses the transportation demand
modelling approach that was employed for this study. In the concluding portion of this
part or our report we provide conclusions on the need and timing for an additional
harbour crossing.
Part 2 of our report focuses specifically on the new harbour crossing. This section
begins with a review of the two practical crossing technologies available bridge and
tunnel and discusses particular technical requirements and design considerations for
each option. We then review the location options considered by this study, outlining
the consultative and screening process that was used to reduce a long list of options to
a manageable few, and the detailed analysis of the final options. This analysis includes
a discussion of the road network impacts, development implications such as property
values and zoning; easement requirements; infrastructure costs; land acquisition costs;
environmental impacts; social impacts; and potential mitigation.
There are several technical appendices to this report that will be made available under
separate cover.

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

Part One Implications of Regional Growth


2.1 Some Background
Since the founding of the twin communities of Halifax and Dartmouth in the middle of
the eighteenth century, people have found it necessary to travel repeatedly across the
harbour. The worlds oldest salt water ferry service was established in 1752 and it
continues to operate to this day, serving 4,000 people every weekday. But it was the
Angus L. Macdonald Bridge that radically altered our ability to move across the
harbour.
The Halifax Dartmouth Bridge Commission was inaugurated in 1950 to address the
growing demand for cross-harbour travel. Five years, later, the Angus L. Macdonald
Bridge dramatically altered development patterns around Halifax Harbour. Prior to the
opening of the Macdonald Bridge, Dartmouth was still a town, with the major vehicular
and pedestrian connection to Halifax being the cross-harbour ferries. At that time,
Dartmouth and the surrounding area was growing quite slowly, at a rate of about 250300 persons per year. After 1955, this rate grew to 3,500 4,000 persons per year. A
shopping center was developed at the bridgehead providing competition to the
traditional downtown area of Dartmouth. The ferry continued to carry vehicles for a
few years but it was eventually turned into a pedestrian-only transportation mode.
By 1963 traffic growth on the Macdonald reached the point where the Halifax
Dartmouth Bridge Commission began to look at sites for another crossing. The ultimate
decision, made by the Premier of the day, Robert L. Stanfield, was to locate the new
bridge at The Narrows. Eventually named the A. Murray MacKay Bridge, it was opened
to traffic in 1970.
A Regional Plan was adopted by the Province of Nova Scotia in 1975. Analytical work
for this plan was initiated while the MacKay Bridge was still under construction. The
Regional Plan encouraged growth in Sackville and in the Cole Harbour/Westphal area.
Infrastructure investments in the region over the next decade included the completion
of the Dartmouth Circumferential Highway (Highway 111), additional lanes on the
Magazine Hill; Highway 118 to the airport and Truro, widening Portland Street, and
new interchanges with Highway 111.
Continuing growth in Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford, and the greater surrounding area
has continued to contribute to increasing travel across the harbour using the bridges.
While various actions have been taken over the years to improve the bridges ability to
handle the resulting growing traffic volumes, the existing bridges are now approaching
their maximum traffic handling capacity.
Included among the improvements that have taken place on the existing bridges are:
the addition of a third reversible lane on the Macdonald; improvements to the tolling
system; the introduction of MacPass; various improvements to all the bridge
approaches; and other infrastructure and traffic control changes aimed at improving
traffic flow and the user experience.
We expect that future modifications to the tolling system and other changes proposed
by the Halifax Dartmouth Bridge Commission may offer marginal improvements to
traffic capacity. However, given the ultimate capacity limitation of just seven lanes on
McCormick Rankin Corporation

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

the two bridges, incremental improvements such as these cannot be expected to


maintain a sufficiently high quality of traffic flow indefinitely in the face of continuing
long-term regional growth pressures.
2.2 Travel Demand
With 60,000 residents and nearly 80,000 jobs2, Halifax Peninsula is the economic
centre of Atlantic Canada. As a peninsula, access to this centre has always been
difficult (this is one of the reasons it was chosen as the capital in 1749 it was easily
defended). Today, this access is severely constrained. There are just six points of road
access and the number of lanes totals just 22, as shown in Table 1.
Table 1 Road Access and Capacity Share to Halifax Peninsula
Facility

Lanes

% of
capacity
Macdonald Bridge
3
19
MacKay Bridge
4
31
Quinpool
4
11
Chebucto
3
8
Mumford
2
5
Bayers
4
11
Bedford/Kempt
6
16
Total capacity
26
100
Assumes 600 vphpl (roads); 1450-1750
(bridges) vphpl = volume/hour/lane

Table 1 also shows the share of total road capacity offered by each the
seven routes. The capacity of a road to move traffic is measured in
terms of the maximum number of vehicles that can be moved along
one lane of traffic in one hour. We express this as vehicles per hour
per lane (vphpl). As high-capacity facilities, the bridges offer about 50
percent of the road network capacity that can be used move traffic on
and off the Peninsula a fact that emphasizes their importance to the
economic health of that area.
Of course, in addition to road access, two ferry routes provide for
cross-harbour travel between the peninsula and Dartmouth. Daily
ridership on the ferries is approximately 4,000 people. There are also
pedestrian and/or active transportation routes across the Isthmus and

the bridges.
Under a new 2006 Regional Plan, the Halifax Peninsula is envisioned as the continued
centre of economic and cultural life in the Region. Therefore, providing access to
ensure the proper function and vitality of this important regional centre is both a
challenge and a necessity.
2.2.1 Existing Cross-Harbour Capacity
In 2005, Delphi-MRC carried out a study for the HDBC to determine the existing
capacity of the bridges and determine how much capacity remains available to
accommodate continuing Regional growth. Using 2004 data, the resulting Bridge
Capacity Study determined that the total peak-direction capacity of the two bridges
was approximately 6,400 vehicles per hour (vph).
Capacity is expressed as the ratio of observed volume (demand) to the ultimate
theoretical capacity of a particular facility. As this volume/capacity (v/c) ratio
approaches a value of 1.0, congestion increases, traffic slows, and the ability to handle
additional vehicles is reduced. The v/c ratio thus provides an indicator of the residual
capacity remaining on a facility. Based on an assessment of the 30th to 100th highest
hour traffic volumes on the bridges, the 2005 study concluded that both bridges were
operating virtually at capacity during peak periods. Table 2 summarizes these findings.
The message from Table 2 is clear: in 2004, both bridges were operating at or near
their maximum capacities for the time periods studied.

2001 figures, HRM Regional Plan data.

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

Table 2 Existing PM Peak Hour Bridge Demand and Capacity


When road facilities (or bridges such as these) operate
very close to their capacity limits, any incident or lane
closure significantly disrupts traffic flow. This is because
Westbound Volume
1,250-1,350
1,700-1,800
traffic flow at these levels runs in a fragile equilibrium
(observed vehicles per
where even small disturbances can have large effects on
hour per lane, 2004)
the movement of vehicles. On the bridges, we see the
Lane Capacity (potential
1,700-1,800
1,400-1,500
results of these disturbances in the form of long vehicle
vehicles / hour / lane)
queues, congestion, and delay that grow rapidly at the
Westbound V/C
0.83-0.96
0.94-1.00
bridge approaches and spread quickly upstream and
downstream of the disturbance throughout the immediate
Delphi-MRC, Bridge Capacity Study, 2005
area. Often, these effects may also spread to the more
distant reaches of the connecting road network.
v/c explained
As a result of the 2005 Delphi MRC study, concepts were suggested to improve bridge
The volume-to-capacity
access and egress including lane additions on the Peninsula end of the MacKay. Some
ratio is a way of
of these changes were implemented in 2007 and other minor improvements may be
expressing the observed
possible. But the fact remains that the capacity of the bridges is finite and the upper
demand (approaching
limit of their capacity is close to being reached.
volume of traffic) in
relation to ultimate
2.2.2 Network Constraints
capacity of a particular
facility. As the ratio
While the analysis above has shown that the bridges are reaching the natural limits of
approaches a value of
their capacity, it is not only the actual bridge structures themselves that affect the
1.0, congestion
ability of traffic to cross the harbour. Constraints inherent on various roads and at
increases, traffic slows,
various intersections throughout Halifax and Dartmouth can and do have a direct and
and the ability to handle
significant effect on the ability of vehicles to get to and from the bridges. We call these
additional vehicles
locations network constraints. Where they are significant, it is these locations that
reduces. The v/c ratio
sometimes define the maximum number of vehicles that can cross the harbour in
thus provides an
morning and evening peak hours effectively limiting our ability to fully use the
indicator of the residual
available capacity on the bridges.
capacity remaining on a
Figure 1 outlines road segments (denoted as red lines) and intersections (red circles)
facility. An analogy can
which typically experience significant congestion during times of peak traffic flow
be made to a glass of
typically the morning and evening rush hours.
water. A glass that is
half full would have a v/c
While some of these congested areas are arguably outside the zone of influence of the
ratio of 0.5. A glass that
bridges, many are directly related, in cause or effect, to bridge capacity. Some
is entirely full has a v/c
examples of these directly related network constraints include portions of North Street,
of 1.0. No more water
Robie Street, Barrington Street, the Windsor Exchange (Fairview Interchange), the
can be contained, so
signals at Wyse/Nantucket, and the signals at Victoria/Woodland.
excess water overflows.
Attempting to improve the capacity of either bridge in isolation from these types of
When the capacity of a
network constraints would be futile.
roadway exceeds 1.0,
traffic backs up.
Macdonald

McCormick Rankin Corporation

MacKay

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

Figure 1 Network capacity constraints in Halifax and Dartmouth

2.2.3 Historic Traffic Growth


Over the past 25 years, traffic crossing the harbour bridges has grown steadily. Figure
2 summarizes this growth between 1981 and 2006 and the patterns of growth we see
tend to reflect various events that reflect both the link between economic conditions
and the demand for travel, as well as various bridge infrastructure happenings.
The trough shown through the early 1990s tends to correspond with an economic
recession at that time. There was a period of slow recovery following the recession,
and until 1998, there was virtually no growth in annual bridge volumes. In 1998, prior
to completion of the Macdonald Bridge third lane, volumes began to increase back to
the level recorded ten years earlier. At this time, two significant HDBC projects
increased cross-harbour capacity: the third lane project on the Macdonald Bridge and
the introduction of MacPass electronic tolling.
Volumes showed a general upward trend for several years thereafter. The short-term
dip in 2001 was probably related to remedial deck work that year. Most recently, in the
three years prior to 2006, there was another virtual plateau, when the annual volume
remained around 32 million crossings per year. This stability may reflect the nearcapacity conditions discussed in the 2005 bridge capacity study.

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

Figure 2 Total Annual Bridge Crossings (1981-2006)

35,000,000
30,000,000
Peak in 1980s
demand, followed
by decline during
early-1990s
recession

25,000,000
20,000,000

Late 1990s
plateau

Third lane on
M acdonald

Bayers
Lake
Retail

15,000,000
10,000,000
5,000,000
1981

1986

1991

1996

2001

2006

In 2001 (baseline year), the total average daily volume on both bridges was about
88,000 vehicles3. Despite the near-capacity conditions illustrated as a general plateau
in Figure 2, between 1999 and 2006, the Bridge Commission has recorded a sustained
increase in the number of days when total crossings have exceeded 100,000 vehicles
(Table 3). In addition, 2007 was the first year to show an average of more than
100,000 vehicle crossings per weekday.
Since peak period traffic volumes on the bridges are at or near capacity, it would
appear that the increases shown in the table are occurring during the shoulder peak
or the off-peak times of the day. If this is the case, it may indicate that bridge patrons
are beginning to respond to increased congestion through the phenomenon known as
peak spreading by choosing to travel at less congested times. These data illustrate an
increasing intensity of bridge use throughout the day.
Table 3 Number of Days Exceeding 100,000 Bridge Crossings (1999-2007)
Year

Days

1999

25

2000

68

2001

45

2002

121

2003

139

2004

128

2005

150

2006

169

2007

164
Source: HDBC

Includes weekdays and weekends.


McCormick Rankin Corporation

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

2.3 Looking Ahead: Growth Projections


In Canada, one of the key influences on population growth is the economy. If a
regional economy is buoyant, the population tends to rise as workers are drawn
towards jobs. Conversely, if the economy is poor, or if it is stronger in other areas,
people tend to be drawn away. So predicting what growth we will see in the next two
to three decades is not easy. However, where people may live, and where they may
work within a region, is easier to predict since this tends to be dictated to some extent
by policy. In Halifax Regional Municipality, the main policy document that addresses
this question is the HRM Regional Plan, which was finalized in 2006. The Regional Plan
is predicated on certain assumptions, among them that the regional population could
increase by 80,000 by 2026. The Regional Plan also contains assumptions and
supporting policies that suggest where population should be distributed throughout the
region. We have relied on these assumptions as the basis of our work.
For the purposes of this study, it was deemed prudent to look a further ten years
beyond the Regional Plan horizon year of 2026. This section provides a summary of the
methodology and results of our work to extend these projections and to allocate where
future growth is likely to occur. The outputs of this process were incorporated into the
regional transportation model that will be discussed later.
2.3.1 Objective

Factors influencing
population growth.
The two main influences
on population growth are
natural increase (live
births compared to
deaths) and migration.
Migration is classified as
intra-provincial, interprovincial, and international. Based on long
term trends in Nova
Scotia, the Regional Plan
is founded on the
conclusion that natural
increase will play only a
small part of any
population growth in the
foreseeable future.

Travel demand is determined by peoples need to move. Where people live and work
tends to be the greatest influence on their need to move. Thus, population and
employment projections are essential inputs into forecasting travel demand. We based
our projections of population and employment growth on work done by and for the
Halifax Regional Municipality as part of the Regional Plan. Our objective was to review
and update as necessary the projections prepared for the Plan, and further, to extend
these projections to 2036.
2.3.2 Methodology and Results
In order to gain a thorough understanding of the process and methodology used to
develop the initial projections, we held discussions with HRM planning personnel
involved in the original projection process. The foundation of the Regional Plan
forecasts included global population and employment figures that were prepared by
Clayton Research in August 2004. HRM planning staff then applied this information to
the regional planning process to develop a 2026 land use scenario. We examined the
population and employment figures in a two-step approach update and extension.
2.3.3 Population
Preliminary population figures from the 2006 census became available in March 2007.
Our first step was to review this information to determine if the rate of population
growth had changed since 2001 relative to that forecast by HRM. These data
suggested that the rate of increase in the past five years was not as aggressive as had
been predicted in the original projections. In consultation with HRM planners, it was
concluded that it would be good practice to adjust the projections downward in light of
the new information.
The next step was to extend the projections to 2036. The Clayton Research report
indicated that natural increase was not likely to have a significant impact on future

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

population change. Rather, as we already discussed, economic conditions are likely to


be the major influence on population change. In other words, population is predicted
to increase almost entirely as a result of in-migration.
All of the scenarios showed a constant rate of population increase. As a result, it was
deemed acceptable to extrapolate these rates out to 2036.
Figure 3 shows the results of our adjusted population forecasts. Presented are a low
growth, base case, and high growth scenarios to provide a range of forecasts. As in the
Regional Plan, the mid-growth scenario was carried forward and the Revised Baseline
scenario was used in this study.
Figure 3 Regional Population Projection to 2036
540,000
519965

520,000

500,000

495747

480,000

471776

471044
460,000

455792
446939

440,000
434899

439364
425029

423039

420,000

415159
404739

400,000

398044

394334

382539

380,000
372679
372679
360,000

372679

359195
342975

340,000
1996

2001

2006

2011

2016

2021

2026

Revised Low Growth

Revised Baseline

Revised High Growth

Historic

2031

2036

In summary, the following table shows recent and projected regional population and
the increase over 2001 values.

McCormick Rankin Corporation

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

Table 4 Historic and projected regional population change (2001-2036)


Year

Population

Increase over 2001

2001

359,195

2006

372,679

13,484

2026

439,364

80,169

2036

471,776

112,581

2.3.4 Employment
Future employment in HRM was also projected by Clayton Research for the Regional
Plan as three potential growth scenarios. This information was adopted unchanged for
application in our study as the employment results were not available from the latest
census.
In our discussions with the HRM planners, it was deemed appropriate to continue a
slight reduction in the rate of growth over time and further reduce the rate between
the 2026-2036 period. The results of our projection are shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4 2036 Employment Growth Projections to 2036

290,000
270,000
265,221

253,800

250,000
235,545
229,800

232,900

230,000

217,900

210,000
205,500

190,000
170,000

210,600

212,706

190,500
170,200

150,000
1991

10

2001

2016

2026

Base Case Scenario

High Growth Scenario

Low Growth Scenario

Historic

2036

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

As in the Regional Plan, we applied the Baseline scenario employment forecasts as the
likely trend. Selecting this rate of growth demonstrates a slightly higher growth than
recorded between 1991 and 2001 and so, from a transportation infrastructure
perspective, will yield a slightly more conservative result during the travel demand
modelling phase of our study.
2.3.5 Growth Allocation
The distribution of growth, or growth allocation, was a separate but related part of the
population projections task. The allocation was founded on the Halifax Regional
Municipalitys preferred population distribution model completed in November 2004. It
distributes future population and employment growth to the urban core and several
other population centres throughout Halifax Regional Municipality.
The revised growth projections were distributed on a percentage basis as in the
original allocation. There was, however, an additional need to consider recent
developments not contemplated in the Regional Plan. Some figures were redistributed
manually to reflect the known changes in the employment landscape. Additional detail
on both redistribution and a detailed summary of the population and employment
projections by traffic analysis zone (TAZ) for the 2016, 2026 and 2036 planning
horizons developed using the procedures outlined above, is available in the technical
appendices to this study.
Figure 5 Relative Distribution of New Population and Employment (2036)

McCormick Rankin Corporation

11

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

Figure 5 shows an aggregate-level summary of projected population and employment


growth for the HRM out to 2036. The distribution is by recognizable geographic areas
as shown. Clearly, population increases are planned to be focused on either side of the
harbour and at the head of Bedford Basin. Meanwhile, the majority of employment
growth is intended to occur on the Peninsula, in central Dartmouth and the Burnside
area (Dartmouth North). Section 2.9 will discuss the tendency for changes in crossharbour travel demand that results from this pattern.
2.4 Planned Network Improvements
Expected growth over the next 25 years will place a heavy demand on the regional
transportation system - including the bridges as well as transit and roadways. As noted
in the HRM Regional Plan, it strives to minimize bridge and roadway infrastructure
expansion through strategic location of future settlement combined with a higher level
of regional transit service.
Another recent study, the Halifax Inland Terminal and Trucking Options Study (2006)
reports that on average, there were 686 truck movements in and out of the south end
container terminal each day. These vehicles travel through city streets. The report
predicts that within two decades, that number could be 1,000 to 1,200 (500 to 600 in,
500 to 600 out). One factor that could influence this growth is the Atlantic Gateway, a
federal initiative to stimulate port development on Canadas east coast to address
potential increases in Asian container traffic across the Atlantic via the Suez Canal.
Against this background, there are several planned network improvements throughout
the region that were considered during the transportation modelling stage as they
could, individually or in combination, impact the route choice behaviour of trips using
the harbour bridges. The following discusses the significant planned roadway projects.
From the provinces perspective, planning was underway in 2007 and 2008 for the
completion of the Highway 107 extension to Highway 102. The widening of Highway
102 between Sackville and Bayers Road may also be expected some time in the
foreseeable future. There is also a strong possibility that within the next one to two
decades, the proposed Highway 113 between Highway 102 and Highway 103 will be
completed. Two notable interchanges were also planned recently: the Mount Hope
Interchange on Highway 111 (now completed to provide access to private land
developments); and a new interchange on Highway 101 in Upper Sackville.
Apart from these initiatives, we are not aware of any other pending significant
transportation network changes in the Region within our planning horizon. We
understand that the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal does
not intend to expand Highway 111 beyond its current configuration.
Notable HRM initiatives to improve peninsular access include the conversion of the
Armdale Rotary to a modern roundabout in 2007 and the pending related widening of a
section of Chebucto Road, the proposed widening of Bayers Road, and continued
improvements to transit service. In 2007, HRM also made changes at the Windsor
Street / Kempt Road intersection that were intended to improve capacity and traffic
flow.
These initiatives, trends, and plans all signal a change in the transportation
environment in Halifax Regional Municipality within our planning period and were
considered in our travel demand forecasting process.

12

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

2.5 Transportation Modeling


2.5.1 A Brief Overview of the Modelling Process
Transportation demand is a complex process. The purpose of building such models is
to allow planners the opportunity to analyze regional travel patterns under various
scenarios of growth, changes in the roadway network, improvements in the use of
public transit and other alternatives to the private automobile, and a variety of other
infrastructure and policy measures.
Transportation demand models take as inputs planned growth and patterns of
population and employment, and of course complete data on the urban transportation
system (desirably including all travel modes) to provide a simulated representation of
how demands for travel will change, and the impacts of those changes on the
transportation network. To do this, they use a variety of well known and accepted
mathematical techniques, and to operate properly, they must first be calibrated and
validated against a known baseline a process we discuss in more detail in Section 2.6
of this report.
In the case of the Halifax Regional Municipality, the basis of a regional transportation
demand model already existed in the form of the regional transportation planning
model most recently applied in the 2006 HRM Regional Plan. With the permission of
Halifax Regional Municipality, we used this model as the basis for building the specific
demand model used in this study. This approach helped ensure consistency in the
results of our efforts with those of the Regional Plan a factor that is critically
important.
We used the planned growth and patterns of population and employment developed
for the years 2016, 2026, and 2036 as described in Section 2.3 of this report as basic
inputs to our model.
2.5.2 A Note on Transit Use
The HRM Regional Plan sets out a critical role for public transit in servicing the future
travel demand that results from their planned growth. This is not surprising and is in
keeping with international trends in transportation planning which necessarily focus on
developing sustainable urban transportation systems that focus on preserving liveable
communities and significantly enhancing opportunities for people to travel using
alternatives to the private car.
In assessing current levels of use of public transit, the HRM Regional Planners
estimated that in 2001, region-wide average transit use during the evening peak hour
represented 18 percent of all person trips taking place during that time regardless of
the purpose of the trip. Trip purpose is important, since normally, transit is most
effective in servicing the work trip, and usage levels reflect this fact. Of course, the
work trip represents only a portion of all travel taking place during either peak hour.
The 2001 Regional transit use assumption is somewhat controversial, since the
Statistics Canada Journey-to-Work Survey for the same year suggests that work-trip
transit usage levels in Halifax are in the order of 10 percent. We would normally expect
overall (all trip purposes) average rush hour transit trip usage to be lower than that for
the work trip.
Notwithstanding this fact, for our demand modeling purposes we accepted the HRM
baseline transit use projections and incorporated them into all of our work.
McCormick Rankin Corporation

13

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

In looking forward to their future year planning horizon, the HRM Regional Plan sets
out an average transit use target (region-wide) by the year 2026 of 23 percent of all
weekday afternoon peak hour trips.
Even against a baseline year 2001 usage level of 18 percent, achieving this 23 percent
transit mode share target by 2026 is an ambitious initiative that will require very
substantial investments in the public transit system and the infrastructure associated
with deploying that fleet effectively. Achieving the target will almost double the number
of peak hour transit trips that will have to be serviced by 2026 to a level of 40,000
person trips in the afternoon peak hour from its current level of 23,000 person trips in
the same period. We note that in 2001, total weekday transit ridership in HRM was
only 50,000 persons, so achieving almost equivalent transit ridership figures in the
peak hour by 2026 will represent a major accomplishment indeed.
We emphasize the ambitious nature of the HRM modal split targets not because they
are not achievable: with suitable investments and aggressive travel demand
management policies, there is some likelihood that they might be reached. However, it
would be inappropriate not to consider the real possibility that for a variety of
reasons, and in particular because of the very substantial funding required to build a
transit system capable of attracting and supporting such usage levels - the targets will
not be achieved. Not achieving these targets means that new harbour crossing
capacity may be required earlier perhaps much earlier - than would be the case if
future transit modal shares were consistent with those goals.
Our discussion reflects the fact in looking forward, both to anticipated demand levels,
and to the types of infrastructure that will be needed to service them, we not only had
to consider the target modal splits (which we did), but also had to ensure that
whatever crossing schemes were generated (if required) provided the necessary
infrastructure not only to support, but to actively promote transit use and other
alternative mode use. In addition of course, we had to consider the fact that such an
ambitious set of transit targets might not be achieved. As we discuss in Section 2.8 of
this report, our approach considered this possibility as well.
All of our modelling efforts incorporate both the baseline year and future year transit
modal share levels used in the HRM Regional Plan. Figure 6 illustrates the regional
distribution of transit use for the baseline year of 2001 and the horizon year of 2026
respectively.

14

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

Figure 6 Transit Use Share (2001 and 2026) as assumed in the HRM Regional Plan

2.6 Building and Validating the Transportation Demand Model


As noted earlier, to properly work transportation demand models must first be
calibrated and validated against a known baseline. In this case, in order to ensure
continuing consistency with the HRM approach, we calibrated and validated our model
against the same base year of 2001 used by HRM.
Typically, demand models are calibrated at the corridor level using forecasts of demand
for the base year across specific groups of roads called screenlines. The base year
forecasts are then compared to counted volumes to ensure an adequate level of
accuracy in the model. If this is not the case, adjustments are normally made to the
model to attempt to achieve the desired result.
We used the same calibration screenlines as those used for the HRM Regional Plan
model, and these are summarized in Table 5 and illustrated in map form in Figure 7.
The final calibration process resulted in modelled screenline volumes that fell well
within the acceptable limits of recognized guidelines used for these purposes.
Table 5 Screenline Locations for Transportation Demand Modelling

No.

Name

Links

Bedford
Basin

1A Highway 118

1B Bedford
Bypass

1C Bedford Highway

1D Highway
102

BedfordHalifax

2A Bedford
highway

2B Dunbrack
Street

2C Bedford Bypass
(Highway 33)

2D Windmill
Road

HalifaxPeninsula

3A Highway 102 /
Bayers

3B Chebucto
Road

3C Kempt Road
(Fairview Interchange)

3D Mumford
Road

Bridges

4A Macdonald

4B Mackay

McCormick Rankin Corporation

1E Lucasville
Road

3E Quinpool
Road

15

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

Figure 7 Screenline Locations Map

2.7 Modelled Network Improvements and Timing


Earlier in this report we noted a number of planned road network improvements that
were being considered by both Municipal and Provincial authorities in the local region.
In order to ensure that our demand model accurately reflected those improvements
that would come into existence within the planning period, we reviewed these
elements and through discussions with the agencies as well as reference to publicly
available documents developed a list of expected dates at which they were likely to
be in service. Table 6 provides a list of these improvements and their expected inservice dates.
Table 6 Location and configuration of interim network improvements
Description
Extension of Highway 107 between Highway 118 at the Akerley Blvd. interchange and
Highway 102 near the Glendale Ave. interchange. A partial interchange with a Akerley
Blvd. connector road and free-flow connections to and from Burnside Dr. would be
provided.
Introduction of Highway 113 between Highway 103 near the Hubley interchange and
Highway 102 near the proposed Bedford West Development. This would include an
interchange at Kearney Lake Rd. and a partial interchange with a St. Margarets Bay
Rd. connector road.
A new interchange on Highway 118 at Wright Ave.
A new interchange on Highway 111 at Mt. Hope Ave.
A new interchange on Highway 102 at the extended Larry Uteck Blvd.

16

Expected/Assumed Completion
By 2026 Planning Horizon

By 2026 Planning Horizon

By 2016 (completed in 2007)


By 2016 (completed in 2007)
By 2016 Planning Horizon

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

A number of minor road improvements (traffic signal installations, lane reconfiguration,


addition of turning lanes and so forth) were also incorporated into the model as
planned for the various horizon years.
2.8 What was Modelled
In developing our future year forecasts, several planning horizons were modelled using
the transportation demand model. In addition, because of our concerns about the
potential that the Regions target modal splits might not be reached, we carried
forward parallel analyses on each horizon year scenario that reflected both
achievement of the modal splits, and a scenario in which transit use did not change
from the baseline year assumption included in the 2006 Regional Plan. All of the model
run scenarios are summarized in Table 7. In total, seven different scenarios were
defined, starting with 2001 out to the ultimate horizon year of 2036. The interim years
(2016 and 2026) were used to determine the pace of growth in travel demand and to
help estimate if and when an additional harbour crossing might be required. As noted,
two scenarios of transit use were modeled for each future horizon year.
Table 7 What was Modelled
Horizon Year
2001
2016
2026
2036

Scenario
Baseline (existing)
18 % transit usage
24 % transit usage
18 % transit usage
24 % transit usage
18 % transit usage
24 % transit usage

The models were used at two levels: a sketch planning level; and the
detailed modelling of crossing options. The sketch planning runs provided
a picture of the general patterns of future travel in the form of desire lines
and are discussed in Section 2.9, below. This basic level of analysis helps
provide initial indications of demand changes in terms of magnitude and
orientation to and from specific areas. This in turn can be used to better
tailor the more detailed model runs that are used for the evaluation of
specific crossing options.
2.9 Planning Level Analysis: Cross-Harbour Desire Lines

2.9.1 Overview
The desire line analysis helped define the general magnitude and orientation of
demand between various parts of the region. Obviously, our particular interest was
focused on the demand for trips crossing the harbour. The analysis is deliberately
coarse, and uses what we call an aggregate-level traffic district system that is more
suitable to the kind of general overview of change that we were looking for. Desire
lines reflect travel in both directions.
Table 8 Regional Transportation Model Districts Illustrated in Desire Line Analysis
District No.

District Name

Illustrated in Figures 9 and 10

501
502
503
504
505
506
507
508
509
510
511
512
513

Peninsula
Mainland North
Prospect
Bedford-Sackville
Upper Sackville
Corridor
Dartmouth South
Dartmouth North
Portabello
Central Dartmouth
Halifax County West
Eastern Shore
Rural East

Y
Y
Y
Y
N
N
Y
Y
Y
Y
N
N
N

McCormick Rankin Corporation

17

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

2.9.2 2001 Desire Line Patterns


The modeled desire lines for the Baseline 2001 scenario are illustrated in Figure 8. The
volumes shown are total daily vehicle trips regardless of direction. Three major desire
lines of particular interest are highlighted because of their significant relevance to cross
harbour travel demand. Lines are drawn from the centre of one district to another and
do not reflect actual travel routes.

Figure 8 Baseline 2001 Desire Lines Total Daily Vehicle Trips

18

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

The modeled desire lines for the 2036 scenario are illustrated in Figure 9. The changes
in desire line width reflect the impacts of the proposed Regional Plan land use pattern
and settlement areas. They assume that growth occurs as expected and that no
additional cross harbour capacity has been provided.
Figure 9 2036 Desire Lines Total Daily Vehicle Trips

2.9.3 Comparison of 2001 and 2036 Desire Lines


In comparing Figures 8 and 9, it is the magnitude and orientation of change in vehicle
trips that is of interest. Table 9 (next page) summarizes these changes on the three
major desire lines of interest because of their particular relevance to cross harbour
travel demand: Bedford/Sackville, Central Dartmouth, and Dartmouth South, to and
from the Peninsula. Note that we have only included half of the Bedford/Sackville
McCormick Rankin Corporation

19

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

vehicle trips in the table, since travel from Bedford/Sackville could follow a route on
either side of Bedford Basin.
Table 9 Changes in Cross-Harbour Demand
Daily Vehicle Trip Interchange (total both directions)
Zone of Interest

2001

2036

Bedford/Sackville (50%)

9,000

16,500

Central Dartmouth

19,000

28,000

Dartmouth South

20,000

25,000

Totals

48,000

69,500

Percent Increase in Daily Vehicular Crossings


Zone of Interest
Bedford/Sackville (50%)

2001

2036
83%

In 2001 there were on average about 88,000


cross-harbour vehicle trips each weekday. So the
three desire lines highlighted in the figures and
shown in Table 9 currently account for about 55
percent of all cross-harbour trips.
Travel demand from just these districts is
forecast to increase, in the aggregate, by 21,500
trips or 45 percent in 2036. This is a significant
increase particularly in light of the fact it
reflects only a part of the overall cross harbour
demand picture.

In addition, of the overall increase of 21,500


vehicle trips crossing the harbour in this
Dartmouth South
25%
scenario, 14,000 or just over 65 percent are from
Central Dartmouth or Dartmouth South
Total increase in demand
45%
crossings that are oriented between the central
to southerly areas of Dartmouth and the Peninsula.

Central Dartmouth

47%

2.10 Detailed Analysis: Need and Timing for Crossing Capacity


2.10.1 Some Background
Typically, long term planning studies use supply and demand to demonstrate the need
for corridor improvements. The metric we use to quantify this in traffic and
transportation studies is the volume-to-capacity (v/c) ratio, which was explained earlier
in this report.
However, in assessing the performance of a facility or corridor, while v/c ratios provide
an excellent threshold level means of defining an absolute limit, they can be difficult to
relate to the quality of performance that being achieved. For this purpose, we often
use travel times along selected routes and between particular beginning and end points
as a supplementary measure of system performance. Travel time is particularly useful
because is it something that relates directly to the road users experience on the route
being examined and has been shown to be a reliable and effective means of assessing
the quality of facility performance.
In Section 2.10.2, we examine the v/c ratio and use it as a threshold measurement to
determine if and when another crossing might be required within the planning period.
We then examine travel times (Section 2.10.3) as a means of looking at the quality of
flow that occurs as the bridges approach the critical v/c ratio threshold. In Section
2.10.4, we look at the critical issue of incident management and the effects of
operating near capacity on mission-critical facilities such as the Halifax/Dartmouth
bridges.
2.10.2 Supply and Demand Evaluation
Using the planned demographic forecasts for the 2016, 2026 and 2036 horizon years,
the travel demand model runs previously outlined were employed to determine travel

20

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

demand on the two bridges under each scenario. The capacity values for this analysis
were taken from the 2005 Bridge Capacity Study as previously discussed in this report.
As noted in our earlier discussion of the detailed model runs carried out, our analysis
considered two transit use scenarios: one which assumed no change over time from
the HRMs currently stated levels of an 18 percent modal share for public transit; and
the other which employed the HRM target modal share for transit of 23 percent. This
sensitivity analysis approach provided a range of values to help identify an appropriate
time frame when additional harbour crossing capacity might be needed in the Region.
The results of this work is summarized in Table 10.
Table 10 Existing Bridges v/c Ratios by Transit Scenario
Total PM Peak Hour Demand Across Harbour (peak direction)

Modeled Peak
Harbour
Comment
Demand (vehicle
v/c ratio
trips)
5,700
monitor
0.89

Year

Transit
Use

2001

18%

2016

18%
23%

6,450
5,600

1.01
0.88

over capacity
monitor

2026

18%
23%

6,850
6,000

1.07
0.95

over capacity
near capacity

2036

18%
23%

7,300
6,400

1.14
1.00

over capacity
over capacity

Obviously, the cross harbour capacity of the existing bridges is a finite number. Once
vehicle demand reaches this point (indicated by the over capacity scenarios in Table
10) vehicle queues will grow, delay will increase rapidly, the likelihood of collisions and
other traffic incidents will grow, and the peak traffic periods of the day will tend to
stretch effectively lengthening the peak hour. This latter phenomenon is known as
peak spreading, and comparisons of 2005 and 2007 peak period traffic patterns on the
bridges suggests that this is already occurring.
The model runs indicated that cross-harbour capacity in the afternoon rush hour peak
direction (eastbound) will reach capacity near the 2016 planning horizon (v/c ratio
>1.00) if the existing transit modal share remains unchanged during this period. The
need for additional harbour capacity will be able to be postponed beyond this date only
if a substantial portion of the Regional Plan 23 percent transit mode share targets is
achieved by 2016.
If no additional capacity is in service when it is required, then cross harbour traffic
congestion will continue to exist until such capacity is made available. However, the
experience of other North American cities suggests that unsatisfied transportation
demand does not continue to persist in the face of the long-term continuing traffic
congestion. Rather, development patterns tend to shift to areas where the demand can
be satisfied under more appropriate mobility conditions. In the Halifax case, under
such conditions it is likely that development (population and employment) would tend
to migrate away from the Peninsula to more suburban areas, or outside the HRM
completely. Mobility is well recognized as an essential catalyst for economic
development and the continuing economic health of communities.

McCormick Rankin Corporation

21

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

In respect of the long-term 23 percent regional average transit modal share


assumptions, it is important to recognize that the achievement of these targets would
take a very significant investment indeed. That investment will also have to start
immediately and build steadily over the planning period if adequate operating
conditions are to be preserved on the bridges, since public transit will in effect have to
absorb all of the growth in peak period travel demand as regional development
continues to occur. Ultimately, it is likely that satisfying the transit demand that will be
present under these targets will only be possible through the use of a sophisticated bus
rapid transit (BRT) system employing a combination of reserved bus lanes, exclusive
busways, specialized terminal and station operations, park and ride facilities, and
ancillary improvements. While we have not attempted to estimate the cost of such a
system, the example of other BRT systems deployed in North America suggests that
the investment would be in the order of hundreds of millions of dollars albeit spent
over an extended period.
More importantly, even if the targets are achieved, there is still a need for a third
crossing by 2026 if not substantially earlier as noted thus requiring not one but two
significant transportation investments within the next 20 years in the region. This
challenge is significant, and underscores the need for a coordinated regional
governance model to address these issues in a systematic and coordinated manner. As
noted earlier in this report, it also underlines the need for any third crossing design to
actively support and promote transit use.
In recognizing that there is a level of uncertainty associated with the likelihood of
achieving the HRM target modal splits, Table 10 indicates that the need for new
harbour crossing capacity to be in-service could arrive by as early as 2016. If this
scenario is realized, then planning for the new crossing would have to begin
immediately since lead times of 8 to 10 years is typical of what has been necessary in
similar highly complex and costly major capital projects elsewhere in North America.
2.10.3 Travel Times Under Congested Conditions
While v/c ratios represent an absolute threshold for capacity improvements, travel time
provides a much more user-related measure of what congestion conditions really mean
to current bridge users.
To identify how travel time could change within the study period, we selected two
strategic routes across the harbour to demonstrate the change in travel time between
2001 and 2026 if no transit modal shift occurs, and no additional capacity is put in
place before the 2026 critical year. The results are shown in Figure 10.
Figure 10 Travel Time Implications Without Additional Capacity (18% Transit)

Briefly explained, by 2026 with no changes in harbour crossing capacity and in the
absence of modal shifts to transit the time to cross the harbour with the existing seven
lanes of capacity would, on average, more than double (105 percent) from 21 minutes
to 44 minutes. Among other consequences, this kind of delay and congestion increases
personal and vehicle operating costs for commuters, elevates greenhouse gas
emissions, and leads to greater levels of motor vehicle fuel use. Again, this underlines
the importance of early and continuing investment in transit by the HRM with a view to
achieving its target modal shares for transit use.
22

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

2.10.4 A Critical Point: Operating Near Capacity


Our final investigation in this assessment of bridge operations under various operating
conditions was carried out using a present-day sensitivity evaluation to assess the
ability of the bridges to accommodate periodic, random capacity reductions such as
collisions and vehicle breakdowns, and the consequences of such incidents on delay.
Such incidents cannot be completely avoided on any road facility. However, when the
facility is operating near capacity the equilibrium of traffic flow and movement is
fragile at best, and the consequences to other road users can be very significant
because of the limited flexibility to effectively manage such disruptions. Managing such
incidents effectively is important, since we know from the literature that in addition
to the direct delay effects - any incident that occurs on a system will substantially
influence users perception of the day-to-day reliability of the system: particularly if
such incidents occur regularly. System reliability is a major factor that influences a road
users choice of routes within an overall network.
To carry out our analysis, we used 2004 observed data, taken on the bridges under
normal operating conditions in the peak direction of travel during the peak hour. In
these circumstances, the v/c ratio across the harbour is 0.95: very near to the full
capacity of the crossings.
Our analysis had two thrusts. First, we looked at the resulting v/c ratio if an incident
occurred. In our second assessment we calculated the resulting delay created by the
incident. The results of this work are shown in Table 11.
Table 11 Incident-related Bridge Capacity Sensitivity Analysis

Incidents causing delay


Rain. Snow. A breakdown.
Any number of factors can
contribute to delay on the
bridges or any other part of
the road network. However,
on a bridge and its
approaches, delays are
critical because alternate
routes may not exist. The
effects of incidents can
often mean time lost from
work and excessive GHG
emissions from increased
idling.

2004
Existing
Volume* Capacity
2600
2900
3500
3500
6100
6400
2600
1450
3500
3500
6100
4950
2600
2900
3500
1750
6100
4650

V/C
Ratio

Macdonald Bridge
Normal Operating
MacKay Bridge
0.95
Conditions
Harbour Total
Macdonald Bridge
Incident on
MacKay Bridge
1.23
Macdonald Bridge
Harbour Total
Macdonald Bridge
Incident on
MacKay Bridge
1.31
MacKay Bridge
Harbour Total
* Volume represents average of observed afternoon peak direction volumes provided by the HDBC

Estimated Delay (veh-hrs)


1/2hr incident
1hr incident

144

575

219

875

We considered two separate scenarios: an incident on the Macdonald Bridge and an


incident on the MacKay. We did not assess the consequences of simultaneous incidents
on both bridges: a possibility that is somewhat remote. To do these analyses, we
reduced the capacity of each bridge in our analysis model by one lane.
As we see in Table 11, the resulting v/c ratios were 1.23 and 1.31, respectively. This
means that depending on which bridge the incident happens on, 20-30 percent of the
total traffic using the bridge during the peak hour would not be serviced within its
normal interval. This demand does not disappear, but is added in the form of delay to
other road users.
To try to put the effect of an incident into some context, we calculated the total time
delay to other road users due to incidents on each of the respective bridges. We
expressed this total delay in vehicle-hours. These results are also summarized in Table
11 in the two rightmost columns.

The analysis indicates that the total delay inflicted on the system is much greater if an
incident occurs on the MacKay Bridge (likely due to the higher volumes that are
serviced). Of course, as the incident extends in time (in this case we show both a 30
McCormick Rankin Corporation
23

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

minutes incident and a 60 minute incident), delay grows exponentially. These findings
underscore the importance managing incidents on a facility and ensuring their duration
is kept at a minimum.
We expect that as traffic continues to grow, then in the absence of a gradual and
progressive reduction in demand through modal shift to transit or some increase in
harbour crossing capacity, the traffic pressures on the bridges will tend to increase the
probability that incidents will occur more frequently during the peak periods of the day.
2.10.5 Thoughts on Mobility and Economic Development
While it was not the mandate of this study to analyze the financial implications of the
harbour crossings, the linkage between mobility and the economic health of a
community is well established. Mobility provides the foundation for economic
development and growth of communities and restrictions to mobility can influence the
willingness of the investment community to justify new investments. The Halifax
Peninsula is recognized as the economic centre of Atlantic Canada. Maintaining this
status requires that mobility be protected and enhanced in the future.
2.11 Capacity Needs Across the Harbour (2036)
2.11.1 Background
Many factors can influence the choice of location for a facility. A key element in this
regard is the pattern of travel demand using the roadway or crossing. By including
demand as a factor in location decisions, we can ensure that facilities serve users in
the most cost-effective and sustainable way by facilitating access to efficient transit
and reducing vehicle kilometres of travel thus reducing user costs, fuel consumption,
and greenhouse gas emissions.
This demand-based crossing location analysis was intended to provide input to a later
overall crossing evaluation process that is discussed in Part 2 of this report. Our sketch
planning analysis using desire lines indicated that key elements of cross harbour
demand were located both to the north and south of current crossing locations. For
this reason, we focused on two potential harbour crossing locations for this demandbased location analysis: a new crossing at the north end of the peninsula, and a new
crossing from Highway 111 at Woodside.
In keeping with the ultimate potentially 100-year+ life cycle of any new crossing, we
examined our outermost planning horizon of 2036. We also examined both the 18
percent and 23 percent transit modal share scenarios for that year.
While the outputs of the transportation demand model are extensive and complex, we
have chosen to display the findings of our analysis in the readily understandable maps
in Figures 11 through 14. These maps illustrate demand on the 2036 roadway network
using traffic volume bandwidths on all the roadway elements modeled. These volume
bandwidths are simply plots of afternoon peak hour two-way traffic volumes where the
width of the plotted band on a facility is proportional to the traffic volume upon it.
Thicker bandwidths indicate facilities carrying higher volumes of traffic.
The bandwidths highlight the general travel patterns under each of the four
alternatives examined and they suggest which links and routes are likely to experience
the highest demand. As noted above, the four scenarios modeled in this analysis were
all for the year 2036, and considered:

24

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

1.

A north end crossing at 18 percent transit modal share (Figure 11);

2.

A north end crossing at 23 percent transit modal share (Figure 12);

3.

A Woodside crossing at 18 percent transit modal share (Figure 13);

4.

A Woodside crossing at 23 percent transit modal share (Figure 14).

Figure 11 Scenario 1A - North Crossing Traffic Volume (18%)

McCormick Rankin Corporation

25

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

Figure 12 Scenario 1B - North Crossing Traffic Volume (23% Transit)

26

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

Figure 13 Scenario 2A - Woodside Crossing Traffic Volume (18%)

McCormick Rankin Corporation

27

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

Figure 14 Scenario 2B - Woodside Crossing Traffic Volume (23%)

2.11.2 Discussion
2.11.2.1 Differences Created by Different Modal Split Assumptions
A review of the various demand plots indicated that there was a difference in harbour
crossing traffic volumes between the 18 and 23 percent transit use scenarios for both
crossing locations. As would be expected, the 23 percent scenario reduced total vehicle
harbour crossing. However, from a strict demand level standpoint, the reduction
achieved through the 23 percent transit modal share while potentially effective in
postponing the need for an additional crossing by 10 years (from 2016 to 2026 as
discussed earlier) is not sufficient in either crossing location scenario to justify
downsizing the facility by what might be termed a capacity unit.
One capacity unit represents 2 lanes on a crossing facility such as the harbour
bridges. Effectively this is because 1 lane per direction is the smallest unit of capacity
that we can cost-effectively add or take away from a facility. It is important to
recognize that the ultimate sizing in terms of numbers of lanes provided - of a long
and expensive harbour crossing of the type being considered here will necessarily
consider a number of factors in addition to the forecasts of long-term demand. We
discuss this subject to advantage in Part 2 of this report.
28

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

2.11.2.2 Differences Created by Different Locations


There is little doubt that the location chosen for the crossing results in a significantly
different pattern of travel demand both across the harbour and throughout the
roadway network.
While this topic is addressed in more detail in a later discussion in Part 2, the results of
our detailed analysis indicate that the overall travel demand in 2036 is generally more
evenly distributed over whole roadway network under a crossing scenario at the
southern end of the Halifax Peninsula (Woodside).
The north crossing scenario appears to concentrate a significant amount of traffic in an
already very congested area of the peninsula roadway approach network, and in
particular in the Fairview Interchange area. In addition, the key east/west peninsula
links connecting to the Fairview interchange and the harbour crossing carry very heavy
traffic volumes resulting from an evidently very significant demand for east/west travel
along the peninsula. This same pattern does not appear in the Highway 111 Woodside
crossing scenario.
Finally, we note the substantive shift in demand from both the MacKay and Macdonald
Bridges that occurs under a Highway 111 Woodside crossing scenario. This is strongly
suggestive of the fact that key generators of harbour demand in 2036 are located in
the south/central sections of both the peninsula (employment) and the east side of the
harbour (residential). Under this scenario, a southerly crossing would appear to better
service the overall harbour crossing demand that will exist at this time.

McCormick Rankin Corporation

29

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

Part Two Crossing the Harbour


3.1 Available Technologies
There are two basic crossing types appropriate to Halifax Harbour: a tunnel or a longspan bridge. Each type has its inherent challenges and benefits. This section discusses
these options and presents the pros and cons of each. Location options are also
described, together with a discussion of costs and other implications. We conclude with
an evaluation of the options.
3.2 Long Span Bridges
Halifax Harbour is currently traversed by two long-span structures, the MacKay Bridge
(338 meters tower to tower) and the Macdonald (441 metres). These spans are both
high and long to permit the passage of ocean-going vessels underneath.
Figure 15 Bridge Diagrams: Macdonald (top; built 1955) and MacKay (1970)
The Halifax Port Authority
reports that the port has an
annual economic impact of $700
million, with employment
impacts of 15,000 direct,
indirect and induced jobs.
Obviously, the movement of
large vessels is vital to the
economic vitality of the harbour
and the region. Both bridges are
49 metres above normal high water. This height is called air draft, which means ships
up to 49 metres high can pass safely underneath under ideal conditions. For a new
structure, depending on its location, it may be necessary to be higher.
Figure 16 Sutong Bridge, China
Very long spans may require the
use of suspension bridge
technology. The MacKay and
the Macdonald are both
suspension bridges. At the time
they were built, this was the
best known long span
technology. Today, cable stayed
bridges are also used for long
spans, as seen in this new
project in china, the Sutong
Bridge across the Yangtze River.
The structure shown in the
figure below is the Bosporus
Bridge in Istanbul, and it is
1,074 metres long tower to tower, which links Europe with Asia. It was completed in
30

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

1973 and was the longest suspension bridge outside the United States at the time of
its construction.
Figure 17 Bosporus Bridge, Istanbul

The following table highlights the requirements that will need to be considered in
locating and designing a new bridge crossing.
Table 12 Typical Bridge Requirements and Considerations
Factor
Height Above Water

Details
Ship clearance requirements
(air draft)

Span arrangements
Water depth
Site topography
Soil conditions / bearing capacity
Bridge Form
Wow Factor
Length

Shipping channel requirements

Overall Width
Site Archeology
Tower height restrictions
Ship impact criteria
Wind conditions
Seismic conditions

Geology
Suspension or cable-stayed
Signature or utilitarian
Main span
Overall Abutment to Abutment
Number of Lanes
Sidewalk/Bikeway requirements
Project showstopper or opportunity?
Proximity to airport approaches

McCormick Rankin Corporation

Comments
Cruise ships
Floating oil platforms
Navy vessels (aircraft carriers)
Large container ships may need more air draft
than current 49 metres. The air draft of post
Malacca-max container ships is expected to be
in the range of 62 to 67 metres; water depth
minimums are about 25 metres. The Suez
Canal offers an air draft of 68 metres.

High, stable ground is preferred on either side


Bedrock close to surface?

Navigation and anchorage


Ratio of suspended length to approaches
4 lanes minimum; too unstable on long spans
structures if narrower

Potential vehicle restrictions

31

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

3.3 Tunnels
Tunnels, whether under rivers and harbours or through hills and mountains, have been
used to accomplish transportation goals for nearly two centuries. Though often costlier
than bridges, tunnels offer the benefit of having little or no impact on the skyline. Even
ventilation structures can now be avoided because of newer technologies and cleaner
running vehicles (Figure 18). One of the main technical challenges is to find an
alignment that maintains a shallow road gradient. Typically, a maximum gradient of 5
percent is preferred if there is a high proportion of trucks, as there would be in the
case of Halifax Harbour.
Figure 18 Jet fans are replacing Ventilation structures in long tunnels
The economics of tunnel construction dictate different tunnelling
methods for different situations. Specialized tunnel boring machines
(TBM) are commonly employed on long tunnels. The tunnel profile is
circular, as in Figure 19. For tunnels requiring a small turning radius,
drill and blast methods may be used. In this case, the profile is
typically a horseshoe shape (flat bottom with curved ceiling).
Depending on the tunnel depth and materials, sometimes a cut and
cover technique is used, whereby a large trench is excavated, the
tunnel lining (usually rectangular) is installed, and the excavation is
then covered. Subways are often constructed using this technique and
it is sometimes used at entry points (Figure 19). The crossing length
implies that a tunnel boring technology would be used for most of the
tunnel.
Figure 19 Tunnel Boring Machine Breaking Through
The geology of Halifax Harbour is metamorphosed slate and quartzite
bedrock. Heritage Gas recently bored a conduit under Halifax Harbour
and information supplied by the company about its geotechnical
analysis indicates that the rock is extremely hard in nature. For part of
the length, at either shore, there is a likelihood that softer materials
will be encountered. There is also a reasonable likelihood that
historical shoreline workings such as pilings and landfill will also be
encountered. Nonetheless, we expect there to be challenges in
tunnelling operation and it will be important to obtain good
geotechnical data to minimize potential issues.
The preferred tunnelling technique is to bore two parallel tunnels for
safety and economic reasons. Such tunnels are always equipped with
cross connection passages at regular intervals. Therefore, in an
emergency such as a fire, the hazard can be contained to one side
while the other is used for evacuation. Each tunnel typically
accommodates two lanes of traffic running in opposite directions. The tunnels are
typically lined to provide smooth walls. Utilities such as electrical systems are carried in
conduits under the road. The profile shown in Figure 21 is probably very close to what
would be used under Halifax Harbour.

32

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

Figure 20 Entrance to the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel (1928).

Figure 21 Typical Dual Bore Tunnel Cross-Section

3.4 Initial Development of Options


Against this background, and that of our needs analysis discussed in Part 1 of this
report, our next step was to identify a preferred crossing location. It is clear that
numerous potential crossing locations exist, but selecting a particular option that would
be best from the point of view of meeting demand, limiting social and economic
impacts, and addressing long term service requirements within the region was a
substantive challenge. To respond to this need, we designed and undertook a multistep that resulted in, first, a long list of candidate locations and second, a short-list of
viable and appropriate candidate locations. The remainder of Section 3.4 details the
steps involved in and outcomes resulting from this process.
3.4.1 Agency Consultation
The first part of this study phase involved listening to agencies and others with an
active interest in the harbour, including the Halifax Port Authority, National Defense,
Canadian National Railways, Parks Canada, and Halifax Regional Municipality. All of
these agencies had information and concerns to impart and they were used to screen
out some of the potential harbour options. Key among these high level concerns were
the following issues:
McCormick Rankin Corporation

33

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

Avoid constructing a bridge over the Dockyard/Dockyard Annex due to the


threat of massing targets in a single location (naval base and major
transportation element).
Fairview Cove Container Terminal, Richmond Terminals, Ocean Terminal, and
the Fairview Cove container terminal are of critical importance. Avoid measures
that would hinder CN and its tenants in their operations or that would prevent
port terminal expansion.
Maintain viable routing of truck traffic to the container terminals.
Ensure adequate air draft for vessels, depth of water, anchorage, and a clear
ship transit route under any bridge.
Avoid structures that would threaten the commemorative integrity of Georges
Island or Fort McNab including obstructions to the historic view planes.

These concerns effectively remove the inner harbour south of The Narrows and north
of the Downtown from consideration. They also make a bridge near Georges Island
problematic. Anything that might affect the container terminals would need to do so
without hindrance to existing operations. The physical appearance of any structure will
also be a concern, depending on its location.
3.4.2 Long List
An expert panel was convened on July 9 and 10, 2007 to brainstorm preliminary
concepts and to document the various options resulting from the gathering for later
discussion at a forum with interested agencies. Participants included members of the
study team from McCormick Rankin Corporation, OHalloran Campbell, Parsons
Brinckerhoff, Buckland Taylor and AtlanPlan. There were nine participants in total.
Background documentation was compiled and provided to the participants prior to the
session. These Materials included:

A context plan/constraints map;


Documented findings of the initial agency questionnaire and interview program
discussed earlier;
A technical traffic assessment including growth projections and our initial
sketch plan desire line analysis.

The two-day session used a brainstorming technique to generate the long list of
crossing options listed in Table 13.4
The session began with an overview of the traffic demand and growth projections
developed previously, together with an review of development and regulatory
constraints.
The two-day session used brainstorming techniques to generate the long list of options
as shown in the table below. Documentation of the long list provided in Appendix F.

At this time we had still to complete the network analysis discussed in Section 2.9.

34

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

Table 13 Summary Table: Long List of Crossing Location Options and Methods

Structure

Name
Twin MacKay Bridge (south side)
Twin MacKay Bridge (north side)

Bridge

South end bridge


Connect Albro Road to Duffus Street
Twin Macdonald Bridge

Narrows tunnel (north side)


South end vehicular tunnel (Woodside)
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) circuit with two tunnel crossings

Tunnel

Narrows Tunnel (south side)


Connect Highway 111 to Cogswell via tunnel
Two small distributed structures

Tunnel or Bridge via McNabs Island


Bridge and/or Tunnel

Connect Alderney Drive to Cogswell


Akerley Boulevard to Fairview Cove

Phase in BRT using existing road and bridge system initially

Other

Truck Ferry from Halterm to Highway 111

3.4.3 The Need to Reduce


The long list includes a number of innovative ideas. Obviously however, with 16
competing options, there was a need to reduce the list to a manageable number for
further evaluation. The expert panel concluded that five to six options would be a
reasonable number of alternatives with which to proceed. The concepts were discussed
in detail by members of the expert panel, following which the long list was reduced to
six options using a consensus-finding scoring technique.
Key factors in this preliminary elimination of options included:

Obvious expense and/or environmental disruption: Tunnel or bridge via


McNab Island; Connect Highway 111 to Cogswell via tunnel; Akerley boulevard
to Fairview Cove.

Extreme network disruption: Connect Albro Road to Duffus Street; Twin


Macdonald Bridge; Connect Alderney Drive to Cogswell

Vertical or horizontal geometry: Narrows tunnel

Failure to meet program intent: Phase in BRT using existing road and
bridge system initially; Truck ferry Halterm to Highway 111.

3.4.4 Short List


The result of the scoring process was a list of options shown in Table 14. The pros and
cons of each of the shortlisted options are also briefly described in Table 14 as they
were understood at the time of the analysis. Key considerations are shown in bold.

McCormick Rankin Corporation

35

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

Table 14 Summary Table: Long List of Crossing Location Options and Methods (not prioritized)

Option

Pros

Twin
MacKay
Bridge
(south
side)

Avoids Seaview Park


Partial road infrastructure exists
Accounts for substantial portion of cross-harbour demand.
Helps meet about 60 percent of cross-harbour demand.
Would attract about 21,000 trips.
Relatively short crossing
Could designate transit priority lanes.

Twin
MacKay
Bridge
(north
side)

Relatively short crossing


Partial road infrastructure exists
Helps meet about 60 percent of cross-harbour demand.
Would attract about 21,000 trips.
Could designate transit priority lanes.

Dominates Seaview Park


Potential impact on CN
transloading facility.

Accommodates growth in southern Dartmouth demand estimated to


be 36,000 trips
Road infrastructure exists
Provides a sixth point of access onto the peninsula.
Spreads out travel demand north and south, easing problems of providing
network capacity and connectivity.
Potential BRT priority component
Signature bridge potential

Located in Citadel view planes


May impact views from Georges
Island.
May impact on helicopter approach
route to CFB Shearwater.
May impact on harbour
anchorages.
May impact navigation channel.
Difficult connections on Halifax
side.
High costs due to length

Woodside
bridge

Cons

Accommodates growth in southern Dartmouth demand estimated to


be 36,000 trips
Road infrastructure exists
Provides a sixth point of access onto the peninsula.
Spreads out travel demand north and south, easing problems of providing
network capacity and connectivity.
No intrusion into view planes.
No impact on Georges Island.
No impact on shearwater approaches.

More sustainable as a transit-based system


Complements Regional Plan objectives.
Launches HRMs BRT system.
Frees up bridge capacity.
May be used to improve value of adjacent land (at station stops)
Small bore tunnels are least costly tunnel option.

Spreads out demand without major disruption to road network


Can be phased with increases in demand
Less investment risk.
Outside opportunity that tunnel costs would be reasonable with small bore
tunnels.
TDM Supportive
Can be phased

Woodside
vehicular
tunnel

BRT circuit
w/ two
tunnel
crossings

Two small
distributed
tunnel
structures

36

Impacts residential area


Impacts major power transmission
line
Concentrates traffic, requires
major network upgrade.
Possible First Nations concern
Tufts Cove

Potential impact on harbour


circulation.
May impact on harbour
anchorages.
Difficult connections on Halifax
side.
High costs due to length and size
of bore (assumed 4 lanes)

Does not fully address growth


in cross harbour demand.
Requires substantial TDM
measures

May not meet all forecast


demand
Two bridges would be more costly
than one bridge of same capacity.
Tunnels are costly.

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

3.4.5 Second Agency Consultation


Following the short listing process, the material developed during that work was used
to help facilitate a second round of consultations with the agencies that were consulted
at the beginning of the options development process. This consultation was carried out
in a one-day workshop format, where participants were invited to consider the short
list options.
A background paper was prepared, together with a series of large scale maps depicting
each option at the conceptual level. The workshop attracted 14 agency representatives
including National Defence, Parks Canada, the Halifax Port Authority, Nova Scotia
Department of Transportation and Public Works, CN, Halifax Regional Municipality, and
the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
Figure 22 Agency Consultation, Lord Nelson Hotel, July 31, 2007
Participants were briefed on the study findings and were
asked to discuss the various options from the point of
view of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and
threats (SWOT). Participants were not asked to select a
preferred option. Table 15 summarizes the results of this
discussion.
3.4.6 Formal Evaluation Results
Based on a review of the pros and cons identified by the
Think Tank, plus the results of the SWOT analysis
conducted with agency representatives, the study team
conducted a matrix-based detailed scoring and
evaluation of each option. The evaluation was based on
the following criteria.

Natural Environment (Avifauna, Watercourses, Sensitive Areas, Fauna,


Fisheries)
Cultural Environment (Parkland, Archaeological sites, Historic sites,
Aboriginal/First Nations Land Claims, View Planes, Cemeteries)
Economic Environment (comparative life cycle and road user cost implications,
development opportunities and land value impacts)
Social Environment (Housing impacts, Neighbourhood impacts, Pedestrian
safety, Quality of life)
Strategic/Transportation (National defense, Network connectivity, Railways,
Marine terminals and shipping, Mass transit flexibility (integral or future BRT),
Potential accommodation of bike lanes and VRU)
Sustainability (How well does it contribute in terms of active transportation,
transit, economically, environmentally and so forth?)

In addition to these criteria, several other factors were considered but were not
included in the final evaluation since they related to risks and costs. At the time of the
evaluation, detailed costs had not been developed and it was felt that the cost and risk
elements could unintentionally bias the evaluation result. This would be especially
undesirable if the ultimate cost estimates differed substantially from any cost
assumptions we might have made at this stage of our work.

McCormick Rankin Corporation

37

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

As a result of this evaluation, a bar chart was prepared that compared the scores for
each of the options. Note that no values are given the bars simply illustrate the
relative attractiveness of one option over the other. The evaluation revealed that, with
cost and risks discounted, a bridge or a tunnel at Woodside became the preferred
option. A circumferential bus rapid transit option rated third highest among the
options. Notably, the two options linked to the twinning of the MacKay Bridge rated the
most poorly, mainly due to the failure of this option to adequately service projected
cross-harbour demand. This issue will be discussed in more detail in a later section.
Figure 23 Evaluation Results Short List of Crossing Options

1
2
Twin MacKay Bridge Twin Mackay Bridge
(north side)
(south side)

3
Highway 111
Woodside bridge

4
Highway 111
Woodside tunnel

5
6
Circumferential BRT Two single vehicular
with 2 tunnels
tunnels (two-way/two
lane or one-way)

3.4.7 Client Review and Direction


The study team presented the Steering Committee for the project with a detailed
review of the evaluation results. The intent of this presentation and discussion was to
further shortlist the options to be carried forward for detailed concept development,
costing, and further evaluation to three. As is evident from Figure 24, the three bestscoring options arising from the preceding assessment of the initial 6 candidates were
as follows:

A bridge at Woodside
A two-way tunnel from Woodside
A Bus Rapid Transit circuit

The key features and benefits of each of these options are outlined briefly below.
3.4.7.1 Woodside Bridge
A bridge providing access between south-end Halifax and Highway 111 in Woodside
would accommodate expected growth in southern Dartmouth. Cross-harbour demand
for the use of this crossing is estimated to be in the order of 25,000 vehicle trips daily
at an 18 percent transit modal share level. The bridge would provide a new point of
access onto the peninsula and in so doing better disperse travel demand north and
south on both sides of the harbour, thus making better use of available network
capacity and facilitating connectivity between the crossing and the roadway network.

38

Cross Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report


Figure 15: Summary of SWOT Analysis Findings
SWOT Analysis Results
July 31 Invitational Forum
Option 2
Option 1
Narrows Bridge North Side of Narrows Bridge South Side
MacKay
of MacKay

Option 3
Woodside Bridge

Option 4
Woodside vehicular tunnel

Option 5
Transit corridor - circuit

Strengths

Strengths

Strengths

Strengths

Strengths

Existing transportation corridor is


available

Existing transportation corridor is


available

Third cross harbour transportation Third cross harbour transportation Supports Regional Plan objectives
corridor (splits traffic)
corridor (splits traffic)
(over long term)

Retains navigation corridor

Retains navigation corridor

Flexibility to respond to accidents

Flexibility to respond to accidents

Possibly complementary to
Woodside Ferry
Possible diversion of trucks from
the Halifax CBD

Possibly complementary to
Woodside Ferry
Possible diversion of trucks from
the Halifax CBD

More probability for support


funding
More travel demand management
options

Avoids residential neighbourhood

Minor impact on views

Utilizes Robie Street as a corridor

Utilizes Robie Street as a corridor

Minor impact on views

Crosses harbour at narrowest point Lessens need to widen north end


(low cost implication)
of Barrington Street

Lessens need to widen north end


of Barrington Street

Efficiently moves people (as


opposed to cars) on and off the
Peninsula
Signature national project

Option 6
2-lane tunnel north and south
ends of peninsula

Strengths
More probability for support
funding
More travel demand management
options
Efficiently moves people (as
opposed to cars) on and off the
Peninsula
Signature national project

Can be staged

Crosses harbour at narrowest point Ease of construction


(low cost implication)
Ease of construction
Increases capacity on existing
transit corridor

Possible signature bridge

Helps transit service new routes

Can be staged

Helps transit service new routes

Meets southern desire lines

Supports Park & Ride, Active


Transportation

Increases capacity on existing


transit corridor

Addresses [some] future demand

Meets southern desire lines

Available capacity on Highway 111 No impact on shipping

Serves all modes

Addresses [some] future demand

Weaknesses

Opportunity to support active


transit and HOV lanes

Reduces demand on northern


sections of Highway 111

Uses rail cut to its transportation


potential

Direct revenue potential.

Weaknesses

Impact on NSP Inc. towers

Available capacity on Highway 111 Serves Woodside IP which is


expected to expand

Weaknesses

Weaknesses

Crosses Seaview Park

Impact on residential
neighbourhood
Little opportunity to phase
construction
Noise impact on local
neighbourhood increases

Reduces demand on northern


sections of Highway 111
Serves Woodside IP which is
expected to expand
Meets redundancy needs

Does not serve Halifax CBD

Little opportunity to phase


construction
Noise impact on local
neighbourhood increases

Meets redundancy needs

Does not support Regional Plan


objectives
Supports federal Gateway concept Limited opportunity to piggyback Conflicts with rail cut trail (Halifax
(flexible)
other services
Greenway)
Could connect to future crossing of Conflicts with rail cut trail (Halifax Noise impacts on residential area,
Northwest Arm
Greenway)
Halifax side

Approaches less flexible cannot Approaches less flexible cannot Supports federal Gateway concept No impact on Halterm operations
accommodate additional traffic
accommodate additional traffic
(flexible)

Noise impacts on residential area,


Halifax side

Does not meet entire system needs Does not meet entire system needs Could connect to future crossing of No impact on viewplanes
(disperse impact)
(disperse impact)
Northwest Arm

Less direct revenue potential

Capacity on Highway 111 needs to Capacity on Highway 111 needs to Weaknesses


be upgraded/ is feeder capacity
be upgraded/ is feeder capacity
OK?
OK?
Could there be an aerodynamic
Could there be an aerodynamic
Entices more people to use cars
interaction between adjacent
interaction between adjacent
(applies to several options, but
structures?
structures?
more so for this one)

Supports Park & Ride, Active


Transportation
No impact on shipping

No navigation obstacles

Opportunities

Phased development grows with


demand (including all
transportation modes) (solution
may include a combination of
options)
Does not increase vehicular access Add another node in Halifax CBD
to Peninsula

Does not affect Historic Halifax

No direct connections to most


employment areas

Routing option for trucks? Add a


centre dedicated lane?

Opportunities

Threats

Focuses traffic in one corridor.

Focuses traffic in one corridor.

Construction may impact on


navigation channel

Less noise impacts than bridge


(Halifax side)

Encourages the use of cars

Encourages the use of cars

Adds a new navigation challenge.

Approach road construction would Phased development grows with Additional vehicular traffic on
be limited
demand (including all
Peninsula.
transportation modes) (solution
may include a combination of
options)

Could impact container terminal


operations

Weaknesses

Add another node in Halifax CBD

Entices more people to use cars


(applies to several options, but
more
so in
foristhis
one) (all or
Phasing
difficult

Routing option for trucks? Add a


centre dedicated lane?

Loss of opportunity for new transit Loss of opportunity for additional


routes elsewhere
transit routes

Opportunities

NSP Inc tower impacts

Phasing in is difficult (all or


nothing).

New cross-harbour active


transportation route northern
end of Peninsula

Neighbourhood impacts

Lessens harbour access for


offshore drill rigs

Add Transit/HOV lanes

More constraints overall than north Probable impact on emergency


side
flight path to Shearwater (ILS)

Threats

Opportunities

Long crossing - more expensive


than a Narrows location

Massing targets

New cross-harbour active


transportation route northern
end of Peninsula

Approach road construction would Impacts SMU Campus plan


be difficult (Halifax side)

What happens after 2036 (is it


scalable)?

Traffic tie ups due to accidents

Add Transit/HOV lanes

Impacts SMU Campus plan

Opportunities

Does it only address other than


people transportation issues?

Possible legal action

Threats

Noise traffic audible from


Georges Island NHP

Could loop water system if


necessary

Massing targets

Impacts view planes

Some trucks out of the Halifax


CBD; no inland terminal required

Traffic tie ups due to accidents

Opportunities

Relieve pressure on Portland Street


(circumferential to ferry) ???

Possible legal action

Could loop water system if


necessary

Opportunity to support active


transit and HOV lanes

Trucks out of the Halifax CBD; no


inland terminal required

Utilize rail cut

Signature bridge

Accelerate development of
Dartmouth South
Gateway concept support

Relieve pressure on Portland St.


(Circumferential to Ferry)

nothing).
Some restrictions on traffic for
safety reasons

Who will pay? Capital and


operating costs.

Long crossing - more expensive


than a Narrows location

Will people use it?

Opportunity to support active


transit and HOV lanes

Threats

Utilize rail cut

Visual impact of ventilation


structure?
Cost of operations vs bridge?

Accelerate development of
Dartmouth South
Gateway concept support

Threats
Could impact container terminal
operations
Impact on Historic Halifax

Threats

Can it be accessed from Halterm?


Economic viability of south end
port
Sprawl in Dartmouth South

Economic viability of south end


port
Sprawl in Dartmouth South
Noise Georges Island

McCormick Rankin Corporation

39

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

In a six-lane (three per direction) format, the structure could also readily accommodate
a potential Bus Rapid Transit priority component. It would also offer the potential for a
signature bridge at the mouth of the Inner Harbour. A bridge in this location could
also accommodate the provision of active transportation elements (cycling and
walking), thus meeting another important goal of the HRM.
3.4.7.2 Woodside Tunnel
A tunnel joining Woodside and the southern end of the Halifax Peninsula would have
travel demand and strategic network benefits similar to those of a bridge. It would also
offer the advantage of not intruding into the harbour view planes, having no
shadowing impact on Georges Island, no impact on aircraft flight, or any water-related
industries in the Woodside area. The footprint of the tunnel where it lands on the
Peninsula is much less intrusive and would be less disruptive to its surroundings during
construction operations. Unfortunately, the tunnel option would be constrained to 4
lanes (2 per direction) for technology reasons. This would make it more difficult but
not impossible to accommodate a BRT-supportive component.
3.4.7.3 Bus Rapid Transit Circuit
The BRT circuit is a concept that offers notable potential as a more sustainable transitbased system than an automobile-focused extension of the existing network. The BRT
circuit, as shown conceptually in Figure 24, sketches the basic route envisioned, using
the rail cut and the Circumferential Highway. Harbour crossings are accomplished
through the use of two tunnels, one at each end of the peninsula. The use of smaller
bore transit-only tunnels (1 lane per direction) at both locations would help offset the
greater cost of the two tunnels. However, as noted earlier, there are safety
implications of such a concept.
Figure 24 Potential Bus Rapid Transit Circuit
Transit stops could be strategically placed to maintain optimal
circuit times. The primary benefit of such a system is its
proactive support of the Regional Plan modal share objectives
that emphasize transit. Such a facility would also effectively
launch HRMs BRT system in a major fashion. It was felt that
the concept could be used to improve the value of adjacent
land at station stops possibly facilitating land value capture
and some recovery of costs from cooperating private sector
landowners. Of course, the concept does not provide any
additional cross harbour capacity for non-transit oriented trips:
in effect creating a substantive capacity-based transportation
demand management measure that would actively promote
the use of alternative modes.
Of course, deliberately limiting cross-harbour roadway capacity
improvements may also have some negative impacts on the
development potential (population and employment) of the
Peninsula lands, as well as those in Central and South
Dartmouth areas. This impact of a BRT-only loop would run contrary to the intent of
the Regional Plan. Finally, we note that the construction of a BRT-only loop as
conceived in this option appeared to lie outside the scope of the HDBCs mandate, and
falls more appropriately under the responsibilities of the HRM.

McCormick Rankin Corporation

41

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

3.4.7.4 Outcome of Discussions with Steering Committee


In reviewing the findings of the evaluation of the shortlisted crossing options the
Steering Committee directed that the following options be carried forward for detailed
evaluations and costing.

A 6-lane Highway 111 Woodside Bridge


A 4-lane Highway 111 Woodside Tunnel

The Steering Committee agreed with the consulting team that a BRT only two-tunnel
circuit while very attractive from the standpoint of promoting transit use fell outside
the mandate of the HDBC as currently structured. However, the Committee members
also directed that the final detailing of the candidate options carried forward as noted
above, should include an exploration of each of the options to accommodate BRTsupportive elements as a key feature, in addition to the required vehicular crossing
capacity.
In the course of these discussions, concerns also arose regarding the dropping of the
twinned MacKay Bridge north end crossing, and the study team while not asked to
carry forward the alternative was asked to provide a separate supplementary
discussion on the reasons for dropping this alternative, as well as an estimate of the
cost of such an option.
The remainder of Part 2 of our report focuses on these requirements. We begin
immediately below with a more detailed discussion of the reasons for dropping the
north-end bridge option. We then examine the two carry-forward options in detail and
discuss their evaluation. A separate discussion is provided regarding the potential of
these options to serve as the harbour crossing backbone for a possible BRT loop.

3.5 The North End MacKay Bridge Twinning Option


3.5.1 Fundamental Considerations
Between 2001 and 2036 the number of cross-harbour vehicle trips occurring during the
evening peak hour is forecast to increase by 2,200 in the peak direction. This increase
is based on an assumption that the current peak hour level of transit usage (18
percent) will be maintained. Using the assumed hourly lane capacities outlined earlier
in this report, and considering the north end McKay twinning option, this level of
growth would warrant:

42

Two new lanes in each direction across the harbour (in the peak direction), for
a total of 4 additional lanes for traffic purposes only. The provision of exclusive
bus lanes would require a 6-lane cross section on the structure;
Widening of Highway 111 on the Dartmouth side of the harbour to 8 full lanes
(4 per direction), with a complete reconstruction of its current interchanges out
to the Main Street Interchange, in order to accommodate the new cross
section. Without this connecting roadway capacity, the new combined crossing
could not be serviced from the Dartmouth side;
A completely new free-flow, grade separated interchange with no signalized
intersections to replace the current Fairview interchange. This requirement
flows in part from the need to accommodate additional free-flow lanes to and
from Robie Street and Barrington Street. Again, the capacity offered by the

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

new interchange is essential to being able to service the new combined


crossing on the Peninsula side;
The widening of Barrington Street to a full 4-lane arterial cross section with
additional turning lanes at major intersections - for its entire length from the
new combined bridge to the downtown core. Currently, due to the two lane
cross section between Devonshire Avenue and the MacKay Bridge, Barrington
Street operates with an effective capacity of a two-lane two-way urban
roadway.
Widening Robie Street to a continuous full 6- lane arterial cross section with
additional turning lanes at major intersections - from the new combined bridge
for its full length to the south end of the Peninsula. Currently Robie Street
operates with an effective capacity of a two-lane two-way roadway due to the
two lane cross section between Young Street and Cunard Street.

These specific infrastructure improvements required to accommodate the increase in


traffic created by a new combined structure at the north end of the Halifax peninsula
are summarized Table 16.
Table 16 North End Crossing Infrastructure modifications
Existing
Infrastructure Elements

Forecast - 2036

Number of Lanes
(per direction)

Estimated Growth in
Peak Hour Cross
Harbour Traffic
(peak direction)

1 lane connection to Robie and Barrington


in each direction

Fairview Interchange
Halifax

Assumed Lane
Capacity
(vphpl)

Number of Lanes
(per direction)

Number of New Lane


Approximate
Required
Length of Upgrade
(per direction)
(km)

Reconfigure to accommodate additional lanes to Robie and


Barrington

Barrington Street

800

Robie Street

800

1600

1.2

1600

4.5

Crossing Structure
Highway 111

4
2200

Rail bridge
Windmill Road Interchange
Dartmouth Victoria Road Interchange

Widening required
Reconfiguration of interchange
Reconfiguration of interchange

Burnside Drive Interchange

Reconfiguration of interchange

Highway 118 Interchange

Reconfiguration of interchange
Reconfiguration of interchange

Mic Mac Blvd. Interchange

These roadway improvements are illustrated in sketch form on the map in Figure 25.
The blue lines represent the approximate limit of roadway widening and the dots
represent interchange locations that may require upgrades. As noted, significant
modifications to the Fairview interchange will also be necessary. The total cost for the
bridge and connecting roads for this option is estimated to be approximately $1 billion.
It should be noted that the identified infrastructure modifications represent the
changes needed to accommodate the projected cross harbour traffic only. These
modifications particularly on Robie Street and Barrington Street - do not reflect
additional capacity requirements that will result from changes in demand in other parts
of the HRM, such as that from the Bedford Highway traffic and other links not
considered in our basic analysis.
It is the study teams considered view that the extent of the network connectivity
requirements needed to make a new north end bridge work effectively are not
tractable either from a cost-effectiveness standpoint, or from the viewpoint of the level
of community and social disruption that the network connectivity requirements create.
In particular, it is our view that this latter point regarding the massive community
McCormick Rankin Corporation

43

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

disruption that would result from such a scheme is the key factor that ultimately
militates against considering this option any further.
Figure 25 North End Crossing: required infrastructure improvements
Even considered in the context of the potential high
transit use scenario (23 percent transit use) set out in the
Regional Plan, such transit use would only reduce the
peak hour, peak direction vehicle trip increase projected
for 2036 by 600 vehicle trips in the peak direction in each
peak hour on this crossing.5 Under such a scenario, the
peak hour, peak direction harbour crossing vehicle trip
increase by 2036 would then be 1,800 vehicles per hour
rather than 2,200 vehicles per hour in the peak direction
during each of the morning and evening peak hours. This
difference between the high and low transit use options
of the HRM Regional Plan makes no difference in the
overall magnitude and distribution of network
connectivity improvements required to make a new north
end crossing work.

3.5.2 Servicing Demand


Both our sketch planning and detailed demand analyses carried out in the course of the
transportation demand modelling work clearly indicated that significant levels of cross
harbour travel demand were oriented between the central and south-central sections
of Dartmouth and central and south-central areas of the Peninsula. Building a crossing
at the north end of the Peninsula to service this south end demand is not only
counterintuitive, but has the potential to create unjustified congestion, substantial outof-way travel, increased fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions, and of course,
increased road user costs (for all modes of travel).
In an effort to better define the magnitude and orientation of these specific cross
harbour travel desires in the Region under the 2036 scenario, we undertook an
unusual, but often used travel demand analysis that employed a technique called an
all-or-nothing traffic assignment.
In the more conventional travel demand run using a technique called an equilibrium
assignment, the model replicates the true behaviour of traffic: congestion and delay
increases as more traffic is assigned to specific streets and intersections. This
increasing congestion results in traffic then being routed to other facilities that are less
congested, in some cases producing varying degrees of extra out-of-way travel (its
longer but faster!). We see this behaviour every rush hour morning or evening in all of
the major urban centers of our country. Unfortunately, the out-of-way travel it
generates often masks the orientation of the true travel desires being serviced.
An all-or-nothing traffic assignment breaks the rules. It is a theoretical exercise where
the model is run in a fashion that places no limits on the capacity of any roadway or
intersection in the system. Congestion does not increase as traffic volumes increase on
a facility, and vehicles tend to take the most direct route between their trip origin and
5

This is the equivalent of 24 full buses.

44

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

destination because there is no disincentive (congestion and delay) to do otherwise.


While the resulting outputs of the model cannot be used to estimate the size required
on specific facilities, what this technique does do is remove the mask that hides the
true orientation of travel desire on the roadway network.
We ran two versions of an all-or-nothing model run for the 2036 planning horizon year.
In one, we used the new twinned north end crossing to provide additional harbour
crossing capacity. In the second, we left the MacKay and Macdonald Bridges as they
currently exist, and provided a third harbour crossing between the end of the
Circumferential Highway in Dartmouth (at Woodside), connecting to the south end of
the Peninsula in the general area of the railway cut. In doing this, we wanted to see
where traffic would cross the harbour in either scenario a true reflection of actual
route desire. The results are illustrated below in Figure 26.
Figure 26 Results of the all-or-nothing model runs (yellow lines represent crossing locations)

Of course the harbour crossing traffic volume allocations to bridges are unrealistic
because of the lack of congestion in the network in this model run. But the relative
shares of the crossing volumes at each location are what is revealing.
In both cases, the true demand for crossing the harbour at the north end of the
Peninsula is minimal. The greatest crossing demand exists in the area of the current
Macdonald Bridge where the volumes far exceed the capacity of the bridge to handle
them. Even more interesting is the significant volumes captured by a southerly crossing
in this scenario. Here, we see that true reflection of the interaction of the southerly end
of Highway 111 at Woodside with the south end of the Peninsula.
It is apparent that a southerly crossing offers a substantial advantage in terms of
servicing the actual cross harbour travel demand patterns that exist within the urban
system, but that a twinned north crossing does little in this regard. In effect, when
compared to a southerly crossing, the north end crossing:
McCormick Rankin Corporation

45

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

Doesnt service forecast travel demand as well;


Will increases individual harbour crossing trip lengths;
Will increase overall vehicle km of travel on network;
Will result in increased greenhouse gas emissions;
Will increase both travel times and user costs for individual travelers.

.
3.5.3 North End Crossing: Greenhouse Gas Implications
As part of this comparative analysis we examined the key difference in Greenhouse Gas
(GHG) emissions that results from the use of a north end crossing versus a crossing at
Woodside. The analysis used a two-step approach using data obtained from the
transportation model and applied to the new Transport Canada Urban Transportation
Emission Calculator.
The methodology considered the peak hour vehicle kilometres travelled, average travel
speed of each link within the selected network, and the distribution of vehicle types
and age. Our study area focused on the bridges, so data was obtained for peninsular
Halifax and central Dartmouth. The results of this analysis do not represent the total
HRM. The methodology reports the GHG emissions using the standard measure of
direct greenhouse gas emissions - CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalents).
A summary of CO2e emission estimates for the northerly crossing, Woodside crossing,
and Woodside crossing as part of a BRT system is shown in Table 17. All units are
metric tonnes produced during a typical year.
Table 17 Comparison of 2036 Cross-Harbour Yearly Emissions

Scenario

Annual GHG Emissions (tonnes CO2 equivalents)


Direct
Percent
Change
Rank
Emissions
Savings

North Crossing

258,500

Woodside Crossing

233,500

- 25,000

10%

Woodside crossing with BRT system

207,200

- 51,300

20%

The findings of this work showed that for harbour crossing traffic - the Woodside
crossing reduces GHG emissions by 10 percent per year when compared to the
emissions generated with a north crossing. As an adjunct to this analysis, we also
looked at the implications of a Woodside crossing that incorporated the use of BRT. As
we would expect, such a system improves the emission picture even further, reducing
GHG emissions by a further 10 percent when compared to the Woodside crossing
without BRT, and providing a GHG emissions reduction of 20 percent when compared
with a north end crossing.
3.5.4 Concluding Thoughts on the North Crossing Option
While the north end twinning of the MacKay Bridge has been considered as a viable
option by others in the past, it is evident from this in-depth analysis that it is burdened
with multiple, substantive disadvantages as noted in the preceding three subsections of
this report. The massive social and community impacts of the required connectivity
improvements, the fact that the crossing location does not serve demonstrated future
46

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

year travel demand particularly well in comparison to a southerly crossing, and the key
implication that both user and societal costs increase substantially under this option
through a variety of mechanisms including out-of-way travel and increased GHG
emissions, all support the rejection of this alternative as a viable alternative. This
option was not carried forward any further.
3.6 Evaluation of Candidate Alternatives
Two Highway 111 Woodside crossing options were carried forward for detailed
development and analysis: a bridge and a tunnel. In addition, we were asked to
provide a commentary on the potential to add BRT functionality to either of these
options.
For each of the bridge and tunnel options, we examined two connection alternatives.
In all cases, a single lane connection was provided from the crossing to Lower Water
Street for all vehicular traffic. Where BRT facilities were included as part of the
crossing, an additional dedicated bus lane was also connected to Lower Water Street.
The facilities will also be connected to Robie Street through the use of the existing CN
rail cut. In this case, the connection to Robie could either be made at grade or in a cut
and cover tunnel.
These options are illustrated in Figures 27 and 28.
3.6.1 Highway 111 Woodside Bridge Crossing Option
The bridge concept is shown in plan view in Figure 27. Key features associated with
this option include the following:

A bridge crossing with a 1.45 km suspended span consisting of a six lane cross
section and provisions for both pedestrian and bicycle lanes. Lanes on the
bridge will be configured as follows:
o 4 general traffic lanes (2 lanes in each direction)
o 2 dedicated Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and/or High Occupancy Tolling
(HOT) lanes (1 lane in each direction)6
o 1 dedicated pedestrian lane
o 1 dedicated bicycle lane

At Woodside, the approach to the crossing will be provided from Highway 111.
Localized widening of the Highway 111 shoulders between the Portland Street
interchange and the new crossing is provided to facilitate shoulder-based
transit. These shoulder transit lanes would provide transit priority. Continuity of
the transit facility across Halifax Harbour is achieved by utilizing the exclusive
BRT/HOT lanes provided on the bridge.

Upgrades to existing Mount Hope Avenue and a new collector road connection
to Pleasant Street are provided to accommodate local access to the proposed
crossing.

On the Halifax side of the crossing, downtown connectivity is accommodated


by elevated ramps with the following provisions:
o A two lane exit ramp from the bridge consisting of 1 general traffic
lane and 1 BRT and/or HOT lane to Lower Water Street.

HOT
McCormick Rankin Corporation

47

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

A two lane entry ramp to the bridge consisting of 1 general traffic lane
and 1 BRT and/or HOT lane from Barrington Street.

Also on the Halifax side of the crossing, the four general traffic lanes to and
from the bridge crossing (2 lanes in each direction) extend into the existing CN
Rail cut to provide a connection to Robie Street. No exclusive BRT/HOT
connection to Robie Street is provided. Shifting the existing rail lines to the
south and replacement of the existing Young Avenue and Tower Road bridge
structures is required to accommodate this connection.

Robie Street south of Inglis Street will also require widening to a 6 lane urban
cross section to accommodate projected traffic volumes.

Pedestrian and bicycle lane connections provided at the Mount Hope


interchange, Barrington Street and Lower Water Street.

For cost estimating purposes, we have assumed that a suspension bridge


configuration will be used for this crossing. The estimated cost associated with
this option is approximately $1.1 billion.

3.6.2 The Highway 111 Woodside Tunnel Option


The tunnel concept is shown in plan view in Figure 28. Key features associated with
this option include the following:

48

A 3.5 km tunnel crossing consisting of dual 10 m diameter bores. In total 4


general traffic lanes are provide (2 in each direction). Due to the limited
diameter of the tunnel bores, no dedicated BRT and/or HOT lanes are provided
within the tunnel.

Due to safety concern and the limited space available in the tunnel bores, the
tunnel option does not accommodate bicycle and pedestrian cross harbour
traffic.

On the Dartmouth side of the harbour the approach to the tunnel is provided
from Highway 111. Localized widening of the Highway 111 shoulders between
the Portland Street interchange and the new crossing is provided to facilitate
shoulder-based transit. These shoulder transit lanes would provide transit
priority on the approaches to and from the crossing however; buses would be
required to merge into the general traffic lanes before entering the tunnel.

Upgrades to existing Mount Hope Avenue and a new collector road connection
to Pleasant Street are provided to accommodate local access to the proposed
crossing.

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

On the Halifax side of the crossing, downtown connectivity is accommodated


through tunnelled ramps with the following provisions:
o
o

A one lane exit ramp from the tunnel to Lower Water Street.
A one lane entry ramp to the tunnel from Barrington Street.

Also on the Halifax side of the crossing, the four general traffic lanes to and
from the tunnel (2 lanes in each direction) extend into the existing CN Rail cut
to provide a connection to Robie Street. As with the Dartmouth approach,
shoulder transit lanes would provide transit priority between Robie Street and
the tunnel entrance. Shifting the existing rail lines to the south is required to
accommodate this connection. Additional right of way may be required to
accommodate the tunnel portal.

Robie Street south on Inglis Street will also require widening to a 6 lane urban
cross section to accommodate projected traffic volumes.

The estimated cost associated with this option is approximately $1.3 billion.

3.6.3 Cut and Cover Connection to Robie Street.


As an alternative to an at-grade connection at the south terminus of Robie Street,
providing a connection below the current street level through the use of a cut and
cover tunnel would reduce the impact on the local road network and neighbourhood.
The additional costs associated with the cut and cover connection option have been
estimate at $100,000,000.
3.6.4 Final Option Evaluation
An extensive evaluation procedure was followed similar to that described in Section
3.4.6. For the final evaluation, there were some refinements and additions to the
evaluation criteria based on new information that had become available through the
course of the study. These changes included:

McCormick Rankin Corporation

Renaming the Strategic/Transportation category to Urban Transportation


System. This category added several transportation-related criteria while
some others including National Defense were moved to Harbour Operations.
The Risk Management category included a broad list of risk criteria.
Economic Environment was renamed Finance and Economic Environment
to permit a more broad assessment of costs.

53

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

The following table lists the options.


Table 18 Final List of Crossing Options
Tunnel
Woodside Bridge A
Connection to Lower Water Street
and Robie with at grade connection
on Robie.
Woodside Bridge B
Connection to Lower Water Street
and Robie with cut and cover
connection to Robie.

Bridge
Woodside Tunnel A
Tunnel connection to Lower Water
Street and Robie with at grade
connection on Robie.
Woodside Tunnel B
Tunnel connection to Lower Water
Street and Robie with cut and cover
connection to Robie.

The final categories and criteria are listed below.

Natural Environment
o Potential impact on avifauna, watercourses, sensitive areas, fauna,
fisheries
Cultural Environment
o Potential impact on parkland, archaeological sites, historic sites,
aboriginal/First Nations land claims, view planes, cemeteries
Finance and Economic Environment
o Capital cost, land values and potential land uplift capture, development
opportunities, maintenance and operations, and negative property
value impacts
Social Environment
o Potential housing impacts, neighbourhood impacts, pedestrian safety,
and quality of life.
Urban Transportation System
o How well the option accommodates transit and active transportation;
its network connectivity, how well it services travel demand, its
sustainability, and potential impact or benefit to freight operations.
Infrastructure and Utilities
o Impact on high voltage power lines, the natural gas corridor,
wastewater conveyance systems, wastewater treatment facilities, or
other utilities
Harbour Operations
o Impact on the requirements of National Defense, the railway, marine
terminals and shipping, and industrial operations.
Risk Management
o Threats of security risk, accidental ship impact, aviation hazard, road
safety implications, wind effect shutdown, traffic surveillance and
control, incident response were compared.
Sustainability
o Considered how well the option contributes in terms of active
transportation, transit, economically, environmentally and so forth.

For the evaluation, each option was considered against all of the criteria. Each option
was given a score based on how it addressed the criteria (Table 19).

54

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

The values in the following table illustrate the relative attractiveness on one option
over the other. Clearly, there is a spread of just a few points between one option and
the other. The evaluation revealed that a tunnel would seem to be slightly favoured
over a bridge and the cut and cover option on Robie Street appears more attractive
than an at-grade option.
Table 19 Evaluation Scores - Final Crossing Options
Candidate Crossings

Woodside Bridge A At
Grade Connection

Woodside Bridge B
Cut and Cover

Woodside Tunnel A At
Grade Connection

Woodside Tunnel B
Cut and Cover

Score

291

301

318

327

While the scores are interesting, they neither reflect a useful basis for choosing
between the options, nor the true value of the evaluation process. The real value of
this process is to provide a rigourous and consistent framework for the discussion of
the relative advantages and disadvantages of each alternative. Following is a brief
discussion of some of the main elements which differentiate the options.

McCormick Rankin Corporation

Natural Environment
o The bridge options have a slightly greater potential to impact on
harbour fisheries, mainly from an operational point of view.
Cultural Environment
o The bridge option would be situated within the view plane from Citadel
Hill. A bridge could be attractive especially if designed as a signature
structure.
Finance and Economic Environment
o The bridge options have a lower cost than the tunnel options; however
the bridges also provide more potential capacity (more lanes and
exclusive transit potential). The tunnel would have less overall
negative property value impact. In either case, bridge or tunnel, the
cut-and-cover option for Robie Street has a greater potential to
enhance property values in the area.
Social Environment
o The elevated bridge structure near Halterm would disrupt views and
would have probable neighbourhood impacts. The cut-and-cover on
Robie Street limits impacts on quality of life in the surrounding
neighbourhood.
Urban Transportation System
o The bridge has more capacity and best accommodates transit; it
accommodates all manner of freight including hazardous materials,
whereas the tunnel would need to exclude such freight; a bridge would
also facilitate demand displacement at such time as it is necessary to
undertake major maintenance on the other bridges.
Infrastructure and Utilities
o Impacts on or by utilities would be about the same with any option.
Harbour Operations
o A tunnel would have less impact on harbour operations, aviation, or
the rail yard.
Risk Management
55

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

Driver workload is in general, somewhat less on a bridge than a


tunnel; however, a tunnel is not affected by weather, and it is not
subject to ship impacts.

Sustainability
o The bridge options provide greater flexibility to service exclusive transit
since flexibility exists across the system of bridges regardless of
bridge/tunnel choice. Active transportation could also be
accommodated on a bridge whereas it would not be possible in a
tunnel.
o Fewer long term greenhouse gas emissions (over do nothing) with less
overall travel delay.

In summary, the areas where the concepts differ most markedly are in the areas of
cultural environment (the tunnel would not impact on view planes, whereas a bridge
would), social environment (housing and neighbourhood impacts), and harbour
operations (the tunnel would be more conducive to all aspects of harbour operations
essentially allowing it to function virtually independent of the underground structure).

3.7 A challenge and an opportunity


In this report, we have frequently noted our concerns about the likelihood of achieving
the high levels of transit modal share anticipated in the Regional Plan. In so doing, we
have underscored the absolute need for any new harbour crossing to support and
indeed promote that objective. In moving forward with a Woodside crossing and in
particular with a bridge crossing, a very real opportunity exists to provide the
infrastructure and travel demand service that can actively support and indeed make
possible the achievement of a complete Bus Rapid Transit Loop reflective of the kind
anticipated as one of the finalists from the original list of six shortlisted harbour
crossing alternatives (discussed in Section 3.4.7.3).
As presently mandated, the HDBC can only be responsible for the harbour crossing
component of that BRT system, but it can achieve this end by providing reserved space
on both the new crossing and the existing MacKay Bridge to service such a BRT loop in
its critical traverse of the harbour at the north and south ends of the Peninsula. The
provision of a six-lane bridge facility at Woodside would allow the reservation of two
complete lanes of that crossing for BRT use or possibly BRT with high occupancy
tolled (HOT) lanes if desired.
The presence of a Highway 111 Woodside crossing in combination with the
achievement of the 23 percent target transit modal shares would also free up
capacity on the MacKay Bridge to pre-empt two of its lanes for the north harbour
crossing of the BRT system on its own reserved or BRT/HOT lane system.
Such a system would be compatible with the originally conceived landside elements of
the BRT loop, including the use of shoulder BRT lanes on the Circumferential Highway
on the Dartmouth side of the harbour, and the use of the CN Rail cut on the Halifax
Peninsula. As noted elsewhere in this report, the Woodside crossing, in bridge form, is
also conceived as providing direct transit service on its own reserved ramp to Lower
Water Street - the core of the harbourside employment area.

56

Cross-Harbour Traffic Needs Assessment Report

While the technical aspects of a BRT system obviously require further technical study,
it does not appear that there is any substantive technical obstacle to realizing this
opportunity. A preliminary review suggests that much of this concept can also be
realized with a tunnel option via Woodside, although such an application would not
offer as much harbour crossing capacity for private vehicles in that corridor.
The key to moving this proposal forward would appear to lie in finding the correct
partnering and governance model that allows effective cooperation between the HRM,
the Provincial Government Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal,
the federal government, and the HDBC whose facilities would have to be involved
and committed to such a system. In addition, such a proposal presumes that the CN
rail cut right-of-way would be made available for this purpose. Previous studies carried
out by others, and preliminary reviews carried out in the course of our work, indicate
that there does not seem to be any technical obstacle to the co-existence of a BRT
system with existing rail line operations in the cut.
We note the substantive advantages that flow from this suggestion with respect to the
accommodation of HRMs future growth projections and development, as well as the
ability to creatively and substantively foster a truly effective and innovative bus rapid
transit system implementation that would undoubtedly contribute significantly to the
achievement of HRMs transit modal share targets. The significant greenhouse gas
reduction benefits of such a scheme were cited earlier in this report and enhance the
project as a major and attractive example of sustainable transport infrastructure
development.
3.8 Monitoring
It will likely take several years of discussion before a final commitment to a new
crossing is made. During that time, it is crucial that indicators of change should be
monitored. The indicators should probably include updates on measures of congestion
and delay as discussed in this report, e.g., number of days with 100,000 or more
vehicle trips across the harbour, the average trip length in the peak travel period, and
possibly a regular poll of bridge users to determine their level of satisfaction with the
commuting experience.
In addition, official statistical data should be obtained and studied as it becomes
available to determine whether predicted rates of growth are occurring, and that
population and employment is occurring where expected. This data should include
Statistics Canada census and employment figures, Municipal housing starts, and
Provincial economic statistics. Private and public land development proposals should
also be monitored and judgments made as to their potential implications for crossharbour demand.

McCormick Rankin Corporation

57

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission

Part Three

Concluding Thoughts
This study has examined a broad range of issues within a highly complex and
developing urban context. Nonetheless, there are a number of key observations and
findings that merit highlighting in this concluding section of the report. Following are
our concluding thoughts.

With respect to the need for a new crossing


A new harbour crossing is not only inevitable, but desirable. Based on the results of our
analysis additional cross-harbour capacity could be required as early as 2016 to
accommodate planned growth as outlined in the HRM Regional Plan. It is a necessary
component of a healthy and vibrant central business district.

With respect to the new crossing and promoting public transit use
Getting people to use public transit is not only a question of forcing such use through
the acceptance of congestion. Transit use is encouraged through the provision of
comfortable, reliable, and efficient transit service with a key quality indicator being
reliability. An appropriately designed new harbour crossing with a dedicated transit
component can provide the basis for an enhanced user experience and a true bus rapid
transit system in the HRM.

With respect to the role of transit


Transit must play a crucial role in the HRM urban transportation scene in the future. All
of our threshold analyses of need have considered the HRM baseline and projected
target modal shares for transit, and our recommendations flow from these analyses. If
the HRM target modal shares are not achieved within the timelines stipulated in the
Regional Plan, the effective operational life of the existing crossings will be
foreshortened correspondingly.

With respect to crossing location


Multiple crossing locations were reviewed as part of this study. Our analysis indicates
that a crossing from Highway 111 at Woodside provides the most sustainable and
effective crossing solution by better rebalancing demand between the new and existing
facilities as well as more directly servicing overall cross-harbour travel desires. In so
doing, a Woodside crossing will help reduce vehicle emissions due to cross harbour
travel, lower travel times and costs for all users on all modes. This crossing also has
the potential to substantially reduce if not eliminate - through trucking in the
downtown are of Halifax.

With respect to crossing technology


Either a tunnel or a bridge can be accommodated in a Woodside crossing location.
Each option has advantages and disadvantages as outlined in the main part of our
report, but both can clearly service the need required.

With respect to monitoring needs


The environmental, planning, and design process for the harbour crossing will take
many years to complete. Leading up to this process, and the commitment to provide a
new crossing, on-going monitoring of regional growth and transit use will be necessary
to ensure that additional capacity is added at an appropriate time.

58