April 4, 2018
For Immediate Release

Liberals Put Traveling Public in Jeopardy on Southern Avalon

Keith Hutchings, MHA for Ferryland District, says, “By ignoring the recommendations of the Transportation and Works (TW) engineering inspection report on the Mutton Bay Bridge entering Trepassey, in addition to gaping ruts and potholes on Route 10 in the area from Cappahayden to St. Shott’s, the Ball Liberals are putting the lives of the traveling public in jeopardy.”

“A 2015 TW engineering inspection report on the bridge in question called for immediate rehabilitation and replacement, but there is no mention of it in the recently announced five-year infrastructure program. In fact, this issue was brought to the Department’s attention last year and to the Minister through petitions in the House of Assembly, and was recommended to the Minister when he asked for input earlier in the year on the updated five-year roads program, but again the area was ignored,” said Hutchings.

‎”The roads are riddled with potholes, some that weren’t even repaired before the winter and ignored in last year’s maintenance season. Mutton Bay Bridge is a structure that is visibly crumbling right underneath the vehicles that cross them, with no sides on the bridge. It’s just not safe, and ignoring the need is just not right,” he said.

‎”The region has no acute care health facility or other treating and diagnostic testing facility, so motorists, residents and ambulances must travel for hours across these stretches of roadway, sometimes at great speed, to get to a hospital – risking their own lives in the process. The residents accept having to travel for service, but priority needs to be given to acceptable and safe highways,” he said.

“For a government that talks about economic diversification and driving growth, they are amazingly oblivious to the support needed on the Southern Avalon to take advantage of the recently designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, which last year saw almost 10,000 visitors to the interpretation site in Portugal Cove South. Will visitors keep coming? The government is advertising these sites around the world but not investing in safe road infrastructure for those who come to see them and share the experience of a World Heritage Site. It’s irresponsible and out of touch,” said Hutchings.

Hutchings is requesting to see the hidden rankings‎ showing how the Minister and TW prioritized roads and bridges in the province in recommending projects for approval. “It’s very telling that the Liberals are refusing to release the list, which we have continually asked for, showing how Ferryland’s roads and the bridge in question are rated for repair and maintenance compared to others in the province and the other 39 electoral districts. The secrecy on the road rankings proves political patronage is alive and well with the Ball Liberals. There is no excuse for not supporting reasonable road infrastructure funding from a district that elected a PC member. People’s safety and economic opportunity should be the priority,” said Hutchings.

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