A key road leading to Nova Scotia’s top tourist destination remains washed out nearly one month after the historic flash floods.
The community has been left wondering why it’s taking so long to repair a section of Highway 333 between Halifax and Peggy’s Cove.
The closure is forcing tourists to take the long way around the peninsula.
Tyler West, who was visiting the iconic spot on Wednesday from Saskatchewan, was forced to drive another hour out of his way after encountering the roadblock — though he says it was worth it.
“I figured there would be a little workaround through some local roads, a detour,” West says. “But we got almost to the end and then had to reroute probably a good hour or more out of our way by the time we backtracked.”
Those in the industry say it’s a tough barrier during a critical time of year.
“It creates tremendous challenges. Now you’ve got double the traffic because the traffic that used to go down the other road is now — everyone is going down the one side,” says Ambassatours Gray Line CEO Dennis Campbell. “It’s creating a lot of delays for our tours.”
Campbell says those stalls are forcing some cruise ships to stay in port longer.
“If they don’t leave on time they get into extra costs and double time,” he says. “It goes into thousands of dollars when you get into extra fuel burn because if they have to stay longer, they motor faster to the next port.”
He also says it has been tough for tour guides who have to come up with novel ways to talk about the same route, as they go down and back the same road now. Overall, he says they’re weathering the storm and fortunate to be able to still carry out the tours despite the closure.
A statement from the Department of Public Works says a temporary one-lane steel bridge has been lifted into place and that’s expected to open in the next couple of days.
“There was a plan in place to restore road access earlier, but unfortunately, we ran into complications, including dealing with an outcrop of bedrock when contractors tried to excavate for installation of a large culvert – and more rain – that created challenging delays,” spokesperson Gary Andrea says.
Meantime, a seasonal business located near the road closure says it has also been feeling the impact. Shaw’s Landing is located after Peggy’s Cove but before the shutdown.
Staff say a sign at the entrance to Peggy’s Cove warning drivers of the road closure ahead isn’t helping.
“Usually when people are taking the route to Peggy’s Cove that’s the Prospect Road and that’s the more popular route,” says server Tia Hiltz. “They’d be passing by the restaurant or it’s already their destination and now they don’t have time.”
Her commute to work has also increased from 15 minutes to more than an hour. She says it’s making her work day longer and the commute more expensive.
But, she says, her biggest concern is safety.
“Now we have only one exit,” Hiltz says. “If anything was to happen it would be hard.”
The province says once the road is reopened, 511 will be updated to reflect the change.
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