In the spring I was thinking about a problem. How do we move 1500-3000 shift worker a day into the Shipyard without widening roads through the North End and creating parking lots in our streets. Ferries! Shannon Park is about .5 to .6 nm across the narrows. A ferry and bus terminal could be built on Shannon Park beside the rail line. Two ferry terminals could be built at both ends of the shipyard. Two ferries would have to be built. These boats could be used to transport shift workers in and out of the shipyard.
Each ferry can hold 250 passengers and would take about 4 minutes to cross the narrows. Add another 4 minutes “to represent reduced speed of manoeuvring”: that is 8 minutes to get across. We could move 250 people in and out of the ship yard in under 20 minutes with each boat.
Each of the ferries would go to different ends of the ship yard. If 1500 workers are in the shipyard, the entire shift change could happen, assuming three shifts a day, in roughly 10 to 15 minutes. If 3000 workers are in the shipyard, the shift change would take around 20 to 30 minutes. When shifts are not changing one of the ferries could continue to run a triangle loop from Shannon Park to the two ship yard terminals to support shipyard workers. The other ferry could run back and forth between the Halifax terminal to create a link to the North End of Dartmouth. This one way trip takes about 24 minutes.
We could work with Irving, who must account for the transportation of the increased labour force, and convince them that this is the method the city would like for moving workers in and out of the shipyard. Coordination with Irving would also be required to ensure proper shift changes are made. Shannon Park development, which needs to be done, could be talked about and discussed in the coming months and years with possibilities for residential, commercial, or even park land.
What is the cost? Each ferry will cost roughly 6-8 million to build. We would also need to build 3 ferry terminals at an estimated cost of 3-5 million. Bus schedules would also need to be changed to get workers to the Shannon Park ferry terminal before the ferries leave. Maintenance and operational costs would also need to be considered.
What is the income? 1500 workers need transit passes at $70 a month for 12 months, which is $1,260,000 a year in increased transit revenue. 3000 workers would result in $2,520,000 a year in increased revenue.
How will we pay for it? We could sell the land the city has already purchased along Bayers Road. A low interest loan could also be secured. Cooperation with the provincial and federal governments and Irving would also be required to ensure the workers can get to and from their job in a safe and efficient manner.
While the total cost is unknown and difficult to predict, it will be smaller than the $300 million estimate to widen Bayers Road, and the unknown amount to widen Duffus Street. It also prevents gridlock through the North End, which is a community full of families and single-home dwellings; increased traffic is not desirable.