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Collisions with MacKay Bridge toll booths down after crash bars installed

Sep 12, 2022 | 2:54 PM

MacKay Bridge. (CREDIT: Skye Bryden-Blom)

Crash bars installed on the MacKay Bridge are reducing damage to toll structures, according to the Halifax Dartmouth Bridge Commission. 

The clearance warning poles — much like those found on parking garages — were installed in November, after the one-year period between November of 2019 and 2020 saw 18 incidents of tall vehicles hitting the cement toll structures. 

Since being installed in November 2021, there have only been eight minor incidents where a vehicle connected with the toll section, said spokesperson for the Bridge Commission, Steve Proctor.

“The barriers they offer…a psychological and visual warning before you’re coming into the toll booth, and I think that’s why [they work].”

The bars don’t collect electronic signals to measure how many drivers bump into them and stop before hitting the overhead section of the tolls, but Proctor said, anecdotally, he’s heard from staff of at least 15 instances where vehicles stopped in time after hitting a pole. 

Thirty-three million cars cross the MacKay Bridge every year; 54,000 vehicles cross daily. 

“Just by sheer volume, there’s bound to be some confusion on the bridge at points in time. We do everything we can to make sure it’s as efficient as [it] possibly can [be].”

The Bridge Commission is considering the preventative crash polls a successful initiative, despite there still being some collisions with the tolls, Proctor said. 

“It was not an expensive solution, but it appears to be an effective solution.”


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