Angry residents call for immediate repairs to Route 114 washout and detour

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Angry residents call for immediate repairs to Route 114 washout and detour

Frustrations spilled over at a meeting in Hillsborough as people called for the minister of transportation to do more to fix the washout on Route 114 and make the detour they have no choice to drive on safer. 

More than 400 people filled the Hillsborough Kiwanis Club Wednesday night to hear what Bill Fraser and his department's staff had to say about repairs. 

On one occasion a resident approached the stage so aggressively, bellowing questions, that engineers, and officials quickly stood up from their seats in alarm. 

Booing, jeering, and cursing directed at government officials and engineers continued throughout the night despite attempts to quell the crowd upset about the amount of time to repair their road and the poor condition of the detour.

The washout cut off the main road between Moncton and Fundy National Park on Route 114 last month.  

The crowd yelled and cursed at Fraser and his staff as they recapped the events that led to the washout at Stoney Creek, the plans to install a temporary bridge and the reasons for turning down the offer of a free bridge. 

Fraser told the crowd the offer could not be accepted because the tender for the temporary bridge had already been awarded. 

Engineer Charles Boudreau said the bridge is expected to be installed in mid-May with the hope a permanent bridge will be installed "sometime." 

Some laughed when they were told the project was the top priority for the area and it would take time to fix it properly and safely.

"We're going to be doing our best," said Fraser. "This crew works hard." 

Staff, seated on the stage, stood when some people asking questions came close to yell their questions at Fraser. 

"I understand the frustration. I care. I wouldn't be here tonight if I didn't care," Fraser said. 

Denise Beaudin didn't plan to attend the meeting. She told CBC News earlier in the day that business at the antique shop she runs just south of Stoney Creek has fallen by 99 per cent since the washout.

"It washed everything out — store, business, people coming in — it totally washed everything out," said Beaudin. 

Angel Mist Treasures has had three visitors in one week said the shop owner, two of whom were there to sell her wares. 

But she said she is not buying anything because she doesn't have any customers.

"It hurts us and it hurts them." 

Beaudin wonders how much longer the business can survive if something isn't done to fix the washout.

"It's frustrating," she said.

Detour crumbling

Local residents are now concerned with the state of the crumbling detour. Beaudin describes the drive on it as "horrible" and "terrifying." She said it is full of potholes, narrow and dangerous. 

Beaudin said many are frustrated with having to travel an extra 30 minutes on the detour, especially late at night.

"We're stuck between the washout and coming off the detour. And I have nicknamed it 'we are stuck in la la land.'"

The Department of Transportation has said it will take six to eight weeks to fix the washout, which occurred on March 2, saying it will be ready in time for tourism season. 

"That's not acceptable, that's too long to wait," said Beaudin adding some of the visitors they have seen already are tourists.

"This area is high, high tourism in the summer. It brings mega bucks to the province."