October 3, 2017
For Immediate Release

Dangerous Road Conditions Being Ignored

Barry Petten, Official Opposition Critic for Transportation and Works, said, “In various parts of our province, the Ball government is ignoring deplorable road conditions, and local residents are expressing concern that it’s placing the lives of the motoring public in jeopardy.”

Petten said, “The Transportation Minister is failing to fulfill one of his core mandates to make our major roadways safe, and basic upgrades such as pothole repair, shouldering, and routine maintenance are being ignored. In May, the Liberals boasted of a summer maintenance program – however, throughout the summer, road conditions continued to be challenging in many areas of the province. Night time work which was expected over the summer months just started in late September. Why the delay?”

The Minister’s mandate letter is clear, stating: “I expect you to conduct an engineering assessment of the quality of road conditions and reflect priorities in a multi-year infrastructure plan to address repairs. Ensure that the plan includes early tendering to allow companies to take full advantage of the short construction season, and make public a priority list of road maintenance.” “Why is the Minister ignoring this mandate?” asked Petten.

“The motoring public should not have to bear the consequences of dysfunction at the government level in evaluating and correcting dangerous road conditions. If the public works officials are stretched beyond their capacity and lack the equipment and personnel, the Minister has an obligation to hire staff and get the work done as quickly as possible. Road work needs to be completed before winter comes – to ensure the roads get the attention they need,” said Petten.

One such location of concern is a stretch of the Irish Loop between Trepassey and Peter’s River. Keith Hutchings, the PC MHA for Ferryland District, said, “The stretch of the Irish Loop from Trepassey to the St. Shott’s Junction ‎is severely potholed and extremely poor for driving. The Stony River Bridge (or Mutton Bay Bridge) at the entrance to Trepassey is seriously eroded, and some of the railing has plunged into the river. It was inspected in February 2015 and scheduled for rehabilitation. Why did the repairs not take place? Why is the bridge not included in the department’s five-year program when it was scheduled to be repaired within a year in 2015? The Irish Loop is one of the province’s major tourist destinations, promoted heavily in the government’s official literature, but significant stretches of this major thoroughfare are not fit to drive over. For more than six months since the spring melt, severe potholes, bridge erosion and rutting along many kilometres of this major route have been ignored, and people are afraid it’s only a matter of time before they lead to a tragedy that’s entirely avoidable.”

Petten said, “While the Transportation Department has released a prioritized list of roads earmarked for work this year, it has refused to show the rankings of roads that were not earmarked for work this year. It is also slow in getting to some of the work earmarked for completion in the current year. It’s imperative for the provincial Transportation and Works Minister to ensure dangerous stretches of road are repaired without any further delay before something tragic happens.”

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Media Contact: Heather MacLean, Director of Communications, Office of the Official Opposition
(709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca

Backgrounder:

Bridge Inspection Report (Mutton Bay Bridge)

Photos:

Route 10 Trepassey


Stony River Bridge




Trepassey to St Vincent’s Route 10, St Shott’s Road