Dangerous, rutted Stoney Creek detour blasted as 'disgraceful' by locals

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Dangerous, rutted Stoney Creek detour blasted as 'disgraceful' by locals

People forced to use the Stoney Creek detour say an increase in traffic is wreaking havoc on the secondary roads being used in place of washed-out Route 114.

Severe potholes are forcing drivers to swerve dangerously along a narrow road, residents say.

"It's disgraceful," said Dale Gaskin, who lives on Dawson Road on the detour route. "The road was bad to start with, but this has deteriorated beyond belief."

He wants the province to spend more money on Route 114, the main road to the Hopewell Rocks and the Bay of Fundy. He said he's frustrated watching the government put millions of dollars into other highways while letting Route 114 deteriorate to the point of collapse.

"Meanwhile, this road gets destroyed completely from here to Moncton with heavy trucks," Dawson said near his home on Dawson Road.

A part of Route 114 collapsed in early March, closing the road to traffic and leaving some local businesses cut off from customers.

Jay Lee, who owns Brian's Variety store rear the road collapse, said traffic is detoured away from his shop, so his business is down 70 per cent.

"I hire one or two employees every summer, but this summer, [there's] no plan yet. It depends on when the road opens."

Lee also cut his hours of operation to try to save money.

"It's getting worse and worse. I don't want to give up."

Lee said he feels the dangerous condition of the detour stops people from going to his store.

"Nighttime is kind of horrible."

Keith Carver of Hillsborough described the road as comparable to what would be found in a developing country.

"There's some places here where the road is basically … just broke-open potholes right across the whole road."

While two road crews were at work Monday repairing the worst spots, Carver said it's too little too late.

"Patching the road is not the answer because this has been put on the back burner through two consecutive governments, the Conservatives and the Liberals, and there has been nothing done at all."

"There should have been something done long ago to this road. Not just because of the detour."

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure is holding a meeting Wednesday to discuss the washout and its effect on surrounding communities. The meeting is at 7 p.m. at the Hillsborough Kiwanis Community Centre.

According to Jeff Hull, communications officer with the department, crews are making steady progress getting things ready for the installation of a 50-metre modular bridge at the site of the washout.

The government has said it could be early May before the bridge can be installed.

Along the detour, workers are doing both hot and cold-patch repairs to try to address drivers' concerns, Hull said in an email.

The crews will work on the rutted road for as long as the detour is required, he said. 

Even with the repairs being done, Keith Carver's not content with the condition of his community's road. He doesn't think many other people would be either, and he expressed impatience with Premier Brian Gallant's government.

"I'd like to ... borrow Brian Gallant's car and drive up and down here probably four times and see how he would like it in one of his vehicles."

Everyone the CBC spoke with plans to attend the meeting Wednesday night.