Work on the Trans-Canada Highway realignment had barely started before the government shut it down after a small group of protesters showed up to the construction site Thursday morning.
Roy Johnstone was one of the protesters who stood in front of the heavy machinery that was clearing out trees to make way for the realignment that has become known as Plan B.
With machinery still rumbling behind him before the shut down, Johnstone said the protesters had a legal right to be at the site.
"They shouldn't be operating these machines with people that close," he said.
While there were assurances work was going to be shut down Thursday, some of the equipment was still going into the early afternoon, including a tree harvester and a bulldozer.
When some of the protesters arrived at the site they stood in front of the machinery to block it from clearing away any of the trees in the new road's path.
After the cutting stopped, the protesters were still surrounded by piles of freshly cut trees, all out of sight of the nearby highway the new road will replace.
The protesters watched as a harvester picked up fallen trees and stripped them of their branches before it cut them into smaller pieces.
Another machine grabbed bundles of brush with its claw and dropped them into a pile to haul out of the way.
The equipment Johnstone said he stepped in front of was cutting down trees, but the operator stopped as soon as Johnstone flagged him down.
"These machines are very scary," he said.
Johnstone said he understood the machine operators were just doing their jobs, but the protesters were trying to get more discussion going about the project.
"If they cut all these trees down and start the whole process there's gonna be less motivation to even sit down and discuss it with us or reconsider it," he said.
It wasn't just the protesters or the work crews who were ate the site Thursday.
Several RCMP officers were at the scene but for the most part were just watching watched happened, including Sgt. Andrew Blackadar who spoke briefly with the protesters who had blocked the machinery.
Blackadar said the contractor called the RCMP because of safety concerns related to people walking in to the construction site.
"The safety is first and foremost in relation to the people who are here trying to stop the project, but also the people who are working," he said.
The RCMP has several options in dealing with the protesters, Blackadar said, including what he called a measured approach.
"We don't come in heavy handed in the beginning."
Blackadar said the project's opponents have legal options when it comes to trying to stop it and people have the right to lawful assembly.
"When it comes down to protests and it comes to stopping equipment that does cross the line into criminal action and at some point we will have to take some action if people are stopping the work from progressing," he said.
There are occupational health and safety concerns and people couldn't stay on the work site, but if it progressed to protesters causing mischief the RCMP would have to take action, Blackadar said.
"Action in terms of if we have to arrest people we're going to arrest people. That's the bottom line."
But he also said it wasn't just about going in and arresting people, but rather it was about getting a dialogue going.
"It's about getting everybody on the same page and moving forward in a measured approach."
Johnstone said he was willing to continue the protest even if it meant getting arrested, because the project's opponents haven't had their attempts to stop it through legal methods get through the court system yet.
"We have to somehow slow the project up otherwise it's gonna be done," he said.
For the government's part, it planned to set up snow fencing around the work site to define the area any protesters would have to stay out of.
The police could then arrest any unauthorized people within that area.
Transportation Department spokeswoman Kim Horrelt said the department planned to shut work down Thursday afternoon and hoped to get the fencing up by the end of the day.
Horrelt said the department didn't put fencing up earlier because it didn't know for sure there would be protesters.
"We're proceeding as quicky as we can," she said.
The department will keep fencing up along any areas where work is underway as long as there are protesters, Horrelt said.
Along with the fencing, the Transportation Department was also putting up no-parking signs along the highway to keep cars from stopping near the construction zone.
The protesters planned to stay at the site to the end of the day to make sure the equipment didn't start up again and expected to be back first thing Friday morning.