World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Newfoundland-Labrador fixed link

Article Id: WHEBN0002089294
Reproduction Date:

Title: Newfoundland-Labrador fixed link  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Labrador, Strait of Belle Isle, Confederation Bridge, Trans-Labrador Highway, Quebec Route 138, Thomas Kierans, Transportation in North America
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Newfoundland-Labrador fixed link

The Newfoundland-Labrador fixed link refers to various proposals for constructing a fixed link consisting of bridges, tunnels, and/or causeways across the Strait of Belle Isle, connecting the province of Newfoundland and Labrador's mainland Labrador region with the island of Newfoundland. This strait has a minimum width of 17.4 km (10.8 mi).

Labrador and Newfoundland are currently connected by ferry service between Blanc-Sablon, Quebec (close to the Labrador border) and St. Barbe. However, the most important ferry connection between Newfoundland and mainland Canada is the Marine Atlantic service between Port-aux-Basques and North Sydney, Nova Scotia.

The idea was conceived by mining engineer Tom Kierans during the early 1970s as a means to bring hydroelectricity from Churchill Falls to the island part of the province. Approximately $75 million was spent by the provincial government on constructing such a utility tunnel but the project was cancelled in 1975.

Since the opening of the Confederation Bridge in 1997, which connects Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, the island of Newfoundland is the most populous portion of Atlantic Canada, and the largest land mass outside the Arctic Islands, not directly connected by fixed link to the Canadian mainland. The Confederation Bridge is approximately 12.9 km (8.0 mi) long, significantly shorter than the Newfoundland-Labrador link would be, and crosses the Abegweit Passage, a shallower and calmer body of water than the Strait of Belle Isle.

In the lead-up to the October 2003 provincial election, Progressive Conservative leader Danny Williams promised to fund a feasibility study to placate link supporters.

2004 Feasibility Study

The feasibility study into a Newfoundland-Labrador fixed link, resulting from the 2003 election promise by newly elected premier Danny Williams, was released in 2004. It examined causeway, bridge and tunnel options and recommended that a tunnel beneath the Strait of Belle Isle, accommodating a single railway track, would be the only feasible option, given the area's harsh winter weather conditions, the strait's bathymetry (the depth and shape of the sea floor), and the geology of underlying soils.

Electric-powered trains would be loaded on either side and carry cars, buses and transport trucks. The authors of the study estimated that construction, either by tunnel boring or lowering pre-constructed tunnel sections to a trench in the sea floor, is beyond the current technological limit due to the depth of the sea floor and scouring of the strait by icebergs.

The authors also stated that the cost of construction and low traffic levels would not justify the cost. Conceivably, if built with federal aid, the 1949 terms of union might be amended to remove federal subsidies from the federally operated Marine Atlantic ferry service that connects Port-aux-Basques with North Sydney, Nova Scotia and place them instead on the proposed fixed link.

In terms of driving distance, a fixed link would not be favourable for residents of the Maritimes or parts of the Eastern Seaboard of the United States as they would have to drive to Quebec City where bridges cross the St. Lawrence River (there are ferries further downstream), before continuing east along Quebec's Côte-Nord (of the Gulf of St. Lawrence).

Highway connections

The south coast of Labrador was isolated from the rest of the North American road network until completion of the Trans-Labrador Highway in 2009, and upgrades to its counterpart Route 389.

A road connection for a fixed link across the Strait of Belle Isle could be provided by a complete highway along Quebec's Côte-Nord; however, Route 138 is currently completed only to Kegaska.

Additionally, parts of Route 389, starting approximately 212 km (132 mi) from Baie-Comeau at the Manic-5 generating station to 482 km (300 mi) at Fire Lake have a substandard alignment. The section from Manic-5 through Fire Lake to Mount Wright is extremely accident-prone and notorious among drivers for its poor surface and sharp curves.

Residents in Labrador lobbied the Quebec government to realign the highway, and are lobbying the Newfoundland and Labrador government to upgrade the Trans-Labrador Highway from loose surface to asphalt at Trans-Canada Highway standards. On 9 April 2009, the Quebec government announced a $438 million project to upgrade Route 389 from Route 138 to Fermont, bringing it very close to the Labrador border. This should be particularly beneficial to the Manic-5-Mount Wright section.

Criticism of the project

Business and community leaders in Newfoundland and Labrador and the rest of Canada have also spoken out against the project, noting that the economic argument for such a link is not proven. The Economist derided the proposal in a story entitled Now let's dig an expensive hole.[1]

See also


External links

  • 2004 Fixed Link Feasibility Study - official website
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.