Coffee-loving truckers posing safety risk, says Port aux Basques mayor

Thirsty truckers in Port aux Basques are taking a risk when they run to get their Tim Hortons coffee, says the town's mayor.

Some truck drivers are reportedly parking their 18-wheeler rigs along the side of the Trans-Canada Highway and making a dangerous dash across the road near town on foot — all to get a double-double.

Mayor Todd Strickland says he hopes no one gets hurt.

"No doubt it creates a safety issue," he said.

For truckers arriving in Newfoundland on the Marine Atlantic ferry, Port aux Basques is the first chance to grab a Tim Hortons coffee before heading across the island.

But instead of trying to fit into the town streets and the coffee shop's parking lot, Strickland said some truckers are leaving their rigs on the side of the highway.

Strickland said that on some occasions, there are 12 to 14 trucks parked on either side of the road.

"Smaller vehicles have to go through a gauntlet of tractor trailers, not knowing if someone is going to dart out in between vehicles," Strickland told the Corner Brook Morning Show.

No easy solutions

Strickland said the issue comes and goes, but it seems to be on the rise lately — and nobody seems to know how to put the brakes on the problem.

"We have 'no parking signs' all over the area, but a sign is, unfortunately, just a sign," he said. "We're a small municipality and we don't have (enough) enforcement."

Besides, Strickland said, the highway falls under the jurisdiction of the Highway Traffic Act, so the town relies on the RCMP to keep an eye on the area.

"The RCMP is on our side," said Strickland, noting that police are aware of the problem and are doing what they can.

However, he added it can be dangerous for police to patrol or park and ticket that area as well.

Strickland said no one has any concrete ideas yet for a long-term solution, but said people in the community have discussed everything from widening the highway, to making a pull-off area for trucks, to having a skywalk built over the highway so truckers can walk for their coffee safely.

All these things would require federal money, added Strickland, who said Port Aux Basques couldn't afford them alone.

And while the town mayor says he hasn't heard of a close call yet on the road yet, the "possibility is still there."