The Toll

I wrote this as commentary to op-ed by Parker Donham


My job is creating design files and fabrication lists for the rebar in the structures of these bridges that we either need or cannot afford to maintain.


A section is made.

There are innumerable structures and highways that need to rebuilt in this province. The costs are indeed staggering yet instead of pursuing the inglorious politicians and the electorate would rather engage in vanity projects. Why fix a road that was always there when we can build something shiny and new.

This is the bridge over the South River of Antigonish. I worked on this bridge. That rebar sticking out of that pour was in part designed by me.


The Bridge Too Far?

Not sure what the final number was on span. It will be somewhere around 40 million. For one structure. The local politicians and concerned electorate fought for years to make sure the highway stayed close to Antigonish. Thought it was important that folks driving to Cape Breton and Halifax be able to see the town and most Importantly STFX. The result of all this is a road, 14 kilometers long, twinned, that cost around $150 million. If just a bit of common sense had been used the road would have been sent South of town. This province could have spent the same money and starting at James River and twinned new as the crow flies all the way to Heatherton. But not to be. As shown in your article people in this province likes to write cheques their ass can’t cash. What’s worse this road twinned the bits that weren’t particularly dangerous. Dagger Woods, Monastery and Marshy Hope are still as they were. So this was never about safety. Nope instead it was a shiny new toy for the children to play with on Christmas Day. From my own experience as a parent, children who open the presents from Santa in the morning invariably end the day playing with the boxes that evening. This province is run the same way. Except everyday is Christmas Day.

Nova Scotia the spoiled child.
Where Christmas is everyday.
Sulks in corner gets what it wants
Then at end of day plays with the box.

So more Concrete poured.
More Asphalt laid.
Then Ribbons cut.
Some Contractors paid.

The road now done.
What to do.
Potholes to fix.
Roads to plow too.

So more roads get built.
More vanity displayed.
How much does it cost.
Who cares anyway.

But we can’t afford.
What do we do.
Charge a toll at the gate.
On a Credit Card past due.

I was going to end writing something serious but the poem or limerick or whatever the hell it is pretty much sums up my feeling about this insanity. It just never ends. Now all this money spent benefits me. My trade/skill is very specialized. No bridge gets built without work that I do. I still think this province got everything ass backwards. Rather than focusing on jobs that only last as long as money from taxpayers is available we should be encouraging entrepreneurs to go out into world with products and ideas.

Will it happen. Not likely. We will get the roads. It will be exciting for a week or two. That is until the sticker shock sets in when the bill is due.


Robert Thompson
Antigonish Nova Scotia
Where the weather is shitty
But we are 150 million richer!


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