POOR ROAD CONDITIONS
St. Lunaire-Griquet mayor wants better road conditions on Route 436
To access L’Anse aux Meadows, you have to drive on Route 436. But locals, including Mayor Dale Colbourne, aren’t pleased with the condition of the roads. Read the details.
Many complaints have been brought to the attention of Dale Colbourne, mayor of St. Lunaire-Griquet, about the road conditions near the outskirts of her town.
Route 436, the only road that goes to the federal historic site L’Anse aux Meadows, is covered in potholes, ruts, dips and partial patchwork, none of which is acceptable to Colbourne.
“There have been no repairs for years,” she said.
Some major concerns have been raised by the town to provincial officials, including the state of the shoulder of part of the road. It has worn away completely.
There used to be a pylon there, Colbourne said. But that has since fallen into the ditch below.
“If anyone pulls over on to the shoulder, their vehicle will go down into the creek,” she said.
Who is responsible? Parks Canada says 23,873 people visited the L’Anse aux Meadows site in 2015.
There are also homes and other tourism attractions there as well.
Since the only way to get there is by road, all those people had to travel along Route 436 to arrive to the site. This is in addition to regular traffic.
The road belongs to the provincial government, and has been maintained from Straitsview to L’Anse aux Meadows.
Colbourne’s concern is the rest of the road must be used to access the site. But without a confirmation road repair would be done in the near future, the question has been raised on whether the provincial government should be footing the bill, or whether the federal gov- ernment should be assisting because it’s the only route to L’Anse aux Meadows.
A spokesperson for the Department of Transportation and Works, Jacquelyn Howard, confirmed the province is maintaining the road. Howard provided a written statement.
“The department has carried out regular patching over the past number of years, and most recently over this past month. Further work is planned in the coming weeks in the area entering St. Lunaire.
“Like other roads across the province, Route 436 has been identified for paving in select areas. It will be considered as part of a multi-year transportation infrastructure plan that is being developed…”
This plan is for the next five years, and it will determine projects based on evidence, research and evaluation to prioritize what will be included.
“Projects will be prioritized according to criteria such as safety, conditions, class, economic impacts, preventative value and bundling opportunities.”
Because it is the road to a major tourism attraction, that would be considered in the ranking, she added.
Fix it But until then, the road will remain in disarray, something Colbourne hopes will be addressed sooner, rather than later.
“The shoulder is gone in some places, guardrails have been knocked down and not replaced, signs haven’t been replaced, there are potholes (all over the roads),” she said.
The provincial government has already put forth a budget that has been heavily criticized for taxing and cutbacks. With these decreases, it’s unknown if or when the road will actually be repaved.
So far, only patchwork has been confirmed.
The current patchwork has at least four layers on it already. Those layers are visible driving down the road because each patched section is a different colour grey.
Colbourne doesn’t want to see any more patchwork. She believes it’s time for a repaving job.
“I think that by ignoring areas with a lot of visitors, we are damaging our province’s chances of return business,” she said.
“This year we have a lot of icebergs, as well as a lot of tourist earlier than ever. We need to be doing our best to ensure return tourists and ones that can (return home) and encourage their friends to visit as well.”
Potholes on Route 436 to L’Anse aux Meadows have been patched numerous times over the past few years, but they keep returning.
It’s unknown if the road will be repaved in the coming years.