Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

Eric Marshall Keuper, 1987

The Northwest Arm Bridge: A Case Study of Locational Decision Making


The thesis concerns itself with an historical reconstruction of the events surrounding the protracted shelving of Halifax's Northwest Arm bridge. The bridge has been proposed several times since the original 1945 proposal and, each time, a final decision with regard to the construction of the bridge has not been forthcoming. As such, with even the most recent development plan for the City of Halifax, 'a final decision has been postponed pending further study. According to some elements of the geographical literature, many of the locational decisions related to the urban environment can be attributed to manipulation of the system by the city's various power groups. Therefore, part of this study is concerned with an analysis of the events, both in front of and behind the scenes, related to the Northwest Arm bridge in order to ascertain whether or not such manipulation of the political system was responsible for the delay. Although the study was not able to definitely prove that manipulation did occur, evidence seems to support the notion that some group, probably residents of Halifax's South End, convinced the various levels of government involved in the decision-making process that the construction of the Northwest Arm bridge was not desirable at the time.