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Highway twinning advocate says he's pleased with provincial announcement

A fire chief from Pictou Co. says he's overjoyed calls for a twinned highway are finally being answered.

Geoff MacLellan, the province's transportation minister, announced officials with the provincial government will invest $390 million to twin three segments of 100-series highways without tolling, and improve road safety on other provincial roads Wednesday.

The 38-kilometre stretch of Hwy. 104 between Antigonish and Sutherlands River is one of those three sections expected to be twinned within seven years.

Joe MacDonald, the chief of the Barney's River Volunteer Fire Department, tells The Hawk he's happy all the time advocating for change paid off.

"(I'm) really, really, really pleased," he says. "It's been a long process, but it's a sea of relief there."

MacDonald says he's been pushing for change for close to three years, and he collected roughly 15,000 signatures on various petitions.

He says the fact the work will be done without tolling is "terrific", but people at consultations he attended in Antigonish and New Glasgow were willing to pay for twinning.

MacDonald says he wants to keep the pressure on government officials so the issue doesn't get forgotten in the next provincial election, which is expected to be called soon.

"We'll have to push, push as hard as we can," he said. "(We need) to make sure it doesn't get laid to the wayside."

MacDonald says he'd like Hwy. 104 twinned all the way to the Canso Causeway eventually.

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