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Author Topic: The Canso Causeway at 60  (Read 4820 times)

ghYHZ

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The Canso Causeway at 60
« on: November 01, 2015, 11:54:04 AM »

The Canso Causeway opened in 1955……Its 4300 feet from shore to shore and over 200 feet deep at the centre….. with a swing-bridge over a ship canal on the Cape Breton side.
 
In the early 1950’s the face of Cape Porcupine was quarried and the rock-fill placed into the Strait of Canso to provide a roadbed for a highway (now Trans Canada 104) and railway linking mainland Nova Scotia with Cape Breton Island.  Prior to that there had been car and railway ferries.



















There’s still an active railway line across but the portion beyond Port Hawkesbury to Sydney is in the process of being abandoned which may leave this section vulnerable also. As the Trans Canada is gradually twinned east of Sutherlands River and Antigonish....if the railway is eventually removed, the highway could be 4-laned but there’s still a swing-bridge required which would preclude a free-flow of traffic.







The causeway was once tolled but the booths (above the train) were removed in the early ‘90s. (And those passenger trains in the photos are long-gone also!)
   



« Last Edit: November 01, 2015, 07:37:02 PM by ghYHZ »
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SignGeek101

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Re: The Canso Causeway at 60
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2015, 07:05:43 PM »

Nice pictures. If the 104 is twinned across the strait, I guess they would have to expand the roadbed then. That won't be for awhile though.

MisterSG1

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Re: The Canso Causeway at 60
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2016, 10:28:22 AM »

I don't know about you guys, but I personally envision a pair of high level bridges (or just one) over the Canso Strait, and then removing the causeway. (if that's possible) If memory serves me correct, as I have not been across the Canso Causeway in over 2 years now, don't you experience a fairly long descent before you reach the causeway? Before this descent, couldn't they build the bridge from there? I am just thinking out loud and haven't sized it up too much.

Once on Cape Breton, I envision that Hwy 104 would replace Trunk 4, speaking of Trunk 4, does it take significantly longer to reach Hwy 125 when you take Trunk 4 instead of Hwy 105? It is something I've always wondered for years and I'm sure you know the answer. I'm not too much of a fan of Hwy 105 myself honest, mainly because of the very few passing lane situations it has.
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ghYHZ

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Re: The Canso Causeway at 60
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2016, 08:50:51 AM »

I don't know about you guys, but I personally envision a pair of high level bridges (or just one) over the Canso Strait, and then removing the causeway. (if that's possible)

Perhaps years in the future!

High level bridges would be cost prohibitive for the amount of traffic at the Causeway......current AADT is about 8300. The swing-span over the canal can be an impediment to free-flow and I’ve spent time waiting for a boat to clear but the great majority of traffic does move without having to stop.

The causeway is 200’ deep with a base width of 800’ at the centre of the strait...so a lot of rock to move! Guess they could remove the top but that will never happen. Although the environmental regulations we have today would probably never have permitted the causeway to be built.....it did create one of the best ice-free harbours anywhere. There are no restrictions at all to vessel size or depth docking at the port on the south (Atlantic) side and it does not freeze....but the north (Gulf) side does pack with ice in the winter. There is also a difference in tides from one side to the other.... and the reason for the lock in the canal at the swing bridge.

Quote
If memory serves me correct, as I have not been across the Canso Causeway in over 2 years now, don't you experience a fairly long descent before you reach the causeway? Before this descent, couldn't they build the bridge from there? I am just thinking out loud and haven't sized it up too much.

Yes there’s a slight decent on the CB side down from the rotary and tourist bureau (you can see it behind the Welcome to CB sign in the photo above).....and what I could envision is a new lift span but with a higher clearance to permit larger vessels* to pass without the need of a lift. If you started the new bridge approach on this slope.....you could return to grade again about mid way across the causeway.

(*a lot of the boat traffic is a tug and barge or small pleasure craft with a mast/sail....so not really all that high)

You would also have to take into consideration there is still an active rail line on the causeway and trains aren’t going to climb grades like vehicles. The railway has applied to abandon the line east to Sydney but there’s still a fair amount of rail business in the Port Hawkesbury area so the tracks across the causeway aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. There is currently $9m in work being done on the existing bridge right now so even its replacement is probably years in the future.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/canso-causeway-swing-bridge-improvements-1.3357725 

Quote
Once on Cape Breton, I envision that Hwy 104 would replace Trunk 4, speaking of Trunk 4, does it take significantly longer to reach Hwy 125 when you take Trunk 4 instead of Hwy 105? It is something I've always wondered for years and I'm sure you know the answer. I'm not too much of a fan of Hwy 105 myself honest, mainly because of the very few passing lane situations it has.

I drive the 4, 104 and 105 at least every couple of weeks and never consider the lack of passing lanes an impediment.  The only time there is any appreciable amount of traffic on the 105 is westbound after a Newfoundland Ferry has arrived at North Sydney (and that is 2 or 3 times a day) They handle 500 vehicles and traffic can stay bunched together for a considerable distance although there are long passing lanes at Boularderie Island, Kellys Mountain and Baddeck. Eastbound traffic is more sporadic.

Don’t think there is any twinning planned on CB in the foreseeable future other than the completion of the 125. Even the proposed ‘Tolled’ NS104 from St Peters to Sydney would be a Super 2. Once beyond Port Hawkesbury.....the AADT on TCH105 at Queensville is about 4000 and on NS4 beyond St Peters is 2000 in the Big Pond area ......climbing to about 4000 AADT toward Sydney.

The Causeway to the 125 at North Sydney via TCH105 takes about an hour and a half.....the Causeway to the 125 at Sydney via the 104 and 4....about 1:40.

And on a lighter side.....those AADT numbers could climb if Trump should win the US Presidency! A local DJ created a web site inviting Americans to move to Cape Breton if Trump wins. It’s got a lot of coverage throughout the US and even CNN sent a crew here on Super Tuesday...and the CB tourism website hits have jumped over 900%.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/03/world/trump-cape-breton-amanpour/

http://cbiftrumpwins.com/


« Last Edit: March 19, 2016, 05:31:59 PM by ghYHZ »
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1995hoo

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Re: The Canso Causeway at 60
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2016, 09:36:18 PM »

I read something somewhere about how the causeway caused big problems for migrating fish.
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ghYHZ

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Re: The Canso Causeway at 60
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2016, 08:19:25 AM »

I read something somewhere about how the causeway caused big problems for migrating fish.

Yes….and just about wiped out the Lobster fishery in Chedabucto Bay on the south side
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Sykotyk

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Re: The Canso Causeway at 60
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2016, 12:40:04 PM »

I went to PEI and Cape Breton Island (Sydney and Glace Bay, precisely) during the week around Christmas in 2004. A bad storm hit on our way home from Glace Bay (didn't have time to really wait it out more than possible) and got to the Canso Causeway around 10pm (long, long drive from Glace Bay that day) and had the fun of waves going up and over the road. My ex-wife (who was my fiance at the time) was scared shitless. But, we drove through it. We hit a rock about the size of a turkey halfway through that cut the power-steering line across the from crossmember of my car.

There was a little truck stop/diner just south of the bridge (that also lost their sign that night) that we stopped at. We ended up sleeping inside the driver lounge in sleeping bags we had. Place lost power shortly after we ordered food and I think they had a generator but it didn't work after about an hour. Remember without power, to buy anything they just marked it down on a tablet and settled with the cashier in the morning once they had power again around 7-8am. Got the car fixed in Antigonish and made it home the next night on schedule.
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ghYHZ

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Re: The Canso Causeway at 60
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2016, 05:48:09 PM »

Here’s a link to a pretty dramatic photo of a storm surge/wave over the causeway back in Oct 2011. Most times, in a situation like this...... traffic would be one-way and escorted across and no high sided vehicles (except for the train here!)

http://www.cbc.ca/gfx/images/news/topstories/2011/10/06/pe-li-storm-canso-causeway.jpg

There was a little truck stop/diner just south of the bridge (that also lost their sign that night) that we stopped at. We ended up sleeping inside the driver lounge in sleeping bags we had. Place lost power shortly after we ordered food and I think they had a generator but it didn't work after about an hour. Remember without power, to buy anything they just marked it down on a tablet and settled with the cashier in the morning once they had power again around 7-8am. Got the car fixed in Antigonish and made it home the next night on schedule.

That would be the Irving Circle K/Big Stop....a favorite hang-out when crossings are restricted.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2016, 06:45:25 PM by ghYHZ »
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