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Halifax Harbour Bridges applies for toll increase

The MacDonald Bridge in Halifax on Aug. 23, 2019. Alexander Quon/Global News

Halifax Harbour Bridges has applied to boost the tolls it charges for vehicles crossing the MacDonald and MacKay bridges.

According to a press release from Halifax Harbour Bridges (HHB), the organization is looking to increase the toll for regular passenger cars by $.20 for those using the Macpass, from $.80 to $1, and $.25 for regular passenger cars paying by cash, from $1 to $1.25.

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The organization is also proposing a 25 per cent increase per axle to the toll for commercial vehicles using the bridges. The increase would apply to commercial vehicles, whether they are using a Macpass or paying by cash.

The application must be approved by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NSUARB) before any increase goes into effect.

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“HHB is dedicated to providing safe, efficient and reliable bridge travel,” says Steve Snider, CEO of HHB. “The bridges and other infrastructure are ageing and this toll increase will help ensure safety and efficiency is maintained.”

HHB says the application to increase tolls is the first request it has made in 10 years and that the increase “is required” to fund its 10-year capital, rehabilitation and maintenance plan.

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The MacKay Bridge is 51 years old and the MacDonald Bridge is 66 years old.

Some of the projects included in the 10-year, $280-million plan are:

  • Completing rehabilitation of elements on the Macdonald Bridge that were not replaced as part of the HHB’s Big Lift project a few years ago, including concrete repairs, paint repairs and replacement of approachment span bearings.
  • Rehabilitating the concrete superstructure of the MacKay Bridge, resurfacing the suspended spans and potential deck segment replacement.
  • Maintenance of some of the overpasses leading to the bridges. Some of them are more than 50 years old.
  • Replacing the electronic toll collection system as it is now 13 years old and some of the technology is no longer supported.
  • A study and preliminary design for the replacement of the MacKay Bridge.

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