Nova Scotia is exploring greater private sector participation in the development of the Highway 104 twinning project between Sutherlands River, Pictou Co. and Antigonish. “This is an important road safety project and we’re looking at all options to get it done in a timely manner and for the best value for Nova Scotians,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Lloyd Hines. “We want to make sure we choose the right approach to deliver this project on time.” The department is exploring the use of a model in which the responsibilities for designing, building, financing operating and maintaining the highway is given to a single firm through a bidding process. It is called Design Build Finance Operate Maintain. It allows for one firm to control the schedule of the project and helps reduce the timeline and the associated risk. The province pays that firm annual service payments for the operation and maintenance of the highway for the duration of an agreement. Highway construction is traditionally financed and designed by the province with the private sector doing construction. Design Build Finance Operate Maintain has been used in Ontario, Saskatchewan and for projects in many other provinces. While the province is exploring this approach for Highway 104, it is not considering the implementation of any tolls to finance the project. The Highway 104 project will see 38 kilometres between Sutherlands River, Pictou Co. and Antigonish twinned as well as the construction of new interchanges and bridges. The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal will issue a request for qualifications this summer, a step in the process to determine if Design Build Finance Operate Maintain is the appropriate approach and whether there is interest in the private sector.