SOUTHWEST COAST – After the long winter, gaping potholes and sections of roads crumbling away make driving conditions increasingly treacherous, even on the Trans Canada Highway and other provincial thoroughfares. Extensive roadwork is currently being completed in the Codroy Valley area on sections of the road that have been most concerning.
MHA Scott Reid (St. George’s - Humber) stated that he hadn’t been out to Codroy Valley last week, but has heard from area residents about the road work.
“The work that is going to be done in Codroy Valley, some is going to be done on the Trans Canada, up in the South Branch area, and from my understanding it is going to be continuing for the next week or so.”
Reid said that within the Codroy Valley itself, a lot of road work is also underway.
“The road from St. Andrew’s to Searston has been done, that’s my understanding, and from Millville up through Woodville and Codroy has been done, a fair bit of repaving and resurfacing there. Also, there is a section of road in South Branch – I'm not sure if it has been paved yet – but the base of the road has been upgraded and it’s going to be paved – if it hasn’t been already – maybe this week,” said Reid. “The weather forecast seems to be pretty good. If it rains or anything like that, they can’t do paving and resurfacing during those times, but when the weather is warm that’s the ideal time to do the paving.”
Reid said the stretch of road between St. Andrew’s and Searston was in deplorable state and called it one of the worst roads in the Valley, but maintains that there is still more that needs to be done.
“There’s another section that’s scheduled to be repaved. Upper Ferry as you leave the Mountainside Gas Station and you drive down through, there was a section of road done there a couple of years ago, paved, so they’re going to continue on down a little way toward the intersection where you turn off towards the school. I don’t think it’ll go right down there, but a portion of that road will be repaved as well this year.”
Reid said there are a few factors in determining which roads will be worked on.
“There’s a couple of other roads in the Valley where the base on the roads wasn’t very good. The Lomond Road and what they call the Block Road, those both are fairly low-traffic roads and not as many people live on those roads, but the road was deteriorated to the point where garbage trucks and things like that were refusing to go down the road because they were damaging their vehicles,” explained Reid. “As well, the plows were having trouble going down there to plow to roads in the winter. They were damaging their equipment, so those were fairly low traffic roads, but nonetheless they needed to be upgraded.”
These roads were completed about 30-40 years ago when the initial pavement was put down, but there were issues with the base structure of the road.
“The pavement was all cracked up. It was a terrible state of a road. So what they’ve done is they’ve ground up the pavement that was on the road and they’ve improved the base of the road. They’ve made improvements to the road and put down a Class A,” said Reid. “Now I’m aware some people are upset. They would rather it is repaved as well, but at this point, those two roads will be better, in my opinion, because the surface will be better and, the way I look at it, it’s the first step that has to happen before these roads are repaved because, in order to repave them, the base would need to be improved anyway.”
Reid said there are other factors that determine priorities for scheduling road work.
“In terms of the way the priorities are done, the amount of traffic that goes over the road, the sections that are being done are like the main roads into the Valley, economic impacts and things like that. The road up to Codroy, the fish plant owner, he lobbied to government to get some of those roads done because he’s having a hard time getting his fish out to market because the road is so bad. There are those types of factors that go into the decisions about which roads get done first.”
Even though there is a lot of construction continuing, Reid said he will continue to lobby government to work on some more roads around his riding.
“There’s still a lot of roads that need to be done in the Valley as well, so I am going to continue to lobby government to get those done,” said Reid. “This is probably the most road work that has been done in the Valley in the last 20 years. It’s a significant amount of roadwork happening there this summer, but there’s still more to be done. There’s still a lot of places that have potholes and things. I’ve talked to the people at the department and said, while we have people doing the paving, while asphalt plants are working in the area, it’s a good chance to use the hot asphalt and do some significant pothole repairs as well.”
With the Codroy Valley making significant progress, there are other areas on the Southwest Coast that have not yet been repaired.
MHA Andrew Parsons (Burgeo – LaPoile) said he isn’t aware of any current plants to work on that stretch of road and, even though the Codroy Valley and McDougalls are outside his district, he is happy to see work being done in the region.
“I’ve certainly put it on the department’s agenda some time ago, especially given the fact that they are doing the bridge work there, but I don’t know if it’s in this year's plan or not, sadly,” said Parsons. “I’m pleased with the work they are doing in North Branch – South Branch, but, personally, I think that from the Starlight area down – I know they are doing patching here and there – but the shoulders of the road are in a bad state. So I was really hoping they were going to get something done there. But I am really pleased to see the (McDougalls) bridge is getting done because, in terms of complaints I was getting, that was the absolute worst.”
Parsons said there were areas in his own district where he was hoping to see road work completed this summer.
“I was hoping for more road work to be done, whether it is on the TCH, whether it’s around Isle Aux Morts. There's some issues there. Burgeo Road, I’m disappointed, but there’s a process. I think there are a few sections there that need to have a look but, on the other side of this, I try to look at the bigger picture. The reality is there are 10,000-11,000 kms of road in this province and everybody is advocating and complaining at the same time and there’s just not enough money to cover it all.”
Jaymie White, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wreckhouse Weekly News