“It’s deplorable”

Adam Randell
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Only fix for Port au Choix road is repaving says residents

Port au Choix residents are upset.

The main road through town, owned by the provincial government, is riddled with potholes and it makes for dangerous driving.

The worst section is from the Irving to the Bank – in the town’s core business sector.

Jeannie Billard said residents have busted up tires and rims just trying to get to the stores.

“It’s deplorable,” she said. “People aren’t even using the main road anymore, they use the back roads when they can.”

Furthermore the tourism season is approaching and she said the road conditions serve as deterrent.

Billard is a bed and breakfast owner and depends on tourist staying in the area for her income.

“One bad word goes a lot further than 20 good words,” she said. “If the roads are bad people aren’t going to come here.”

Billard said there has been patchwork, but it’s just not cutting it.

“The street needs a complete overhaul,” she said.

Mayor Carolyn Lavers agrees that the road is a state.

Lavers said the town has been having issues with the section of road for the last number of years.

“There are some potholes you go down and you’re not sure you’re going to come back up,” she said.

The town has contacted the Department of Transportation and Works regarding repairs, which Lavers said has happened, but the patchwork just doesn’t hold.

“There’s a lot of water, and gravel isn’t going to stay for any length of time when there’s water,” she said.

Lavers said the town will be meeting with the Department in May to have discussions regarding the road. She sees repaving the section as the only fix.

“Part of the discussion will include the town taking ownership of the road,” Lavers said. “But before we’d even consider something like that it would have to be brought up to standard.”

Transportation Minister Nick McGrath confirmed the meeting, adding senior officials will be doing an inventory of what needs to be done to get the upgrades started.

“Once we get our maintenance season going then we’ll certainly start cracking away at it,” McGrath said.

When it comes to the town taking ownership of a provincial road, he said it’s a fairly common practice to take place.

“It’s normal to see that take place, especially in more rural parts of the province.”

St. Barbe MHA Jim Bennett isn’t so quick to jump onboard about municipalities taking road ownership.

“It’s like government is trying to squeeze municipalities into accepting ownership of the roads in exchange for pavement,” he said. “But what happens a few years down the road when the pavement is gone, the town is stuck with fixing it, and some municipalities just can’t afford to do it.”

Organizations: Department of Transportation and Works

Geographic location: Port au Choix

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