Emergency vehicles will no longer encounter delays in reaching St. Martha’s Regional Hospital in Antigonish during times of flooding, once an emergency access road is constructed. Health Minister Angus MacIsaac announced $95,000 for the construction project today, Feb. 21. “Access to the hospital over the Wright’s River bridge is compromised when the river floods, causing delays in the delivery of health care services,” said Mr. MacIsaac. “The alternate route around Cape George takes up to an additional hour, and we cannot afford that time during an emergency. This road will ensure the residents of this district receive timely health-care services during emergencies.” The access road will be built adjacent to Rail America’s train tracks. It will run from the Cloverville Road to east Main Street. “St. Martha’s Regional Hospital operates on a 24-hour a day, seven-day-a-week schedule,” said David MacKenzie, vice-president of operations for the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority. “Restricted access to the hospital due to a flooding of the Wright’s River Bridge is a risk to our operations, both for patients and staff. The access road will provide emergency back-up when we need it most — during an emergency.” Protocol for use of the emergency access road will be developed by the local Emergency Management Office (EMO) in consultation with the provincial EMO. The road will be used only by vehicles designated by EMO, including RCMP, ambulances, fire trucks and other emergency personnel. The road will not be available to the general public; it will be a one-lane, unregistered road. Consultations with interested organizations, engineering consultants, Rail America, and EMO have taken place. The funding for this project comes from the Department of Health’s $38-million capital grant fund.