New as­phalt for New Har­bour Bar­rens


Mo­torists who travel the New Har­bour Bar­rens road are in for a smoother ride.... for a few kilo­me­tres at least.

Tenders have been called to up­grade, pul­ver­ize and repave five kilo­me­tres of the road. The work will start ap­prox­i­mately 8.8 kilo­me­tres from New Har­bour, run for 3.5 kilo­me­tres, skip one kilo­me­tre and then re­sume for ap­prox­i­mately an­other 1.5 kilo­me­tres. The up­grad­ing is part of a $70 mil­lion Pro­vin­cial Roads Im­prove­ment Pro­gram, which falls un­der a $300 mil­lion in­vest­ment in trans­porta­tion in­fra­struc­ture an­nounced in the 2009 bud­get.

Ac­cord­ing to Jen­nifer Tulk, com­mu­ni­ca­tion spe­cial­ist with the depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion and Works, the ten­der for the road­work closed June 2.

“At that time the depart­ment of Works Ser­vices and Trans­porta­tion will have a bet­ter idea of when the work will start and how much it will cost,” said Tulk.

“Trans­porta­tion and Works does not dic­tate to the con­trac­tor when work will start, but there

☛ is a sched­uled com­ple­tion date of Sept. 15,” she added.

For years res­i­dents, from both Con­cep­tion and Trin­ity Bays have com­plained about the con­di­tion of the New Har­bour Bar­rens. In fact the well trav­elled stretch of high­way (route 73) which links Trin­ity and Con­cep­tion Bay has been de­scribed as an ob­sta­cle course.

Randy Smith of Trin­ity Bay is one of the hun­dreds of peo­ple who use the road to com­mute to work on a daily ba­sis.

“Cer­tain sec­tions of it aren’t fit to drive on,” he said in a March 17 in­ter­view.

Like most peo­ple I try to weave my car around them, but that can be danger­ous, There are no shoul­ders left on the road in many places, too many ruts to count and large dips all over the place. If a driver hap­pens to fish­tail and hit the edge of the pave­ment in a place where the shoul­ders have eroded away, there’s a good chance he or she won’t be able to get their car back on the road or more than likely they’ll hit the loose gravel and then they’re out in a ditch,” he adds.

Randy points out an­other way the con­di­tion of the road could af­fect pub­lic safety.

“The New Har­bour Bar­rens road is a highly trav­elled road, its used as much, if not more than the Heart’s Con­tent Bar­rens, “ he said. “It’s also the main route an am­bu­lance has to take to get from Trin­ity Bay to the hospi­tal in Carbonear. Hun­dreds of res­i­dents de­pend on that road to get them safely to the hospi­tal and to var­i­ous busi­nesses in Con­cep­tion Bay North.”

Be­tween 40 and 50 teach­ers from Con­cep­tion Bay also use the road to com­mute to schools on the Trin­ity shore ev­ery day.

Shared re­spon­si­bil­ity

In a May 28 press release En­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter and Trin­ity Bay de Verde MHA Char­lene John­son said, “the trav­el­ling pub­lic in her district would be pos­i­tively im­pacted by the im­prove­ments.”

“The in­vest­ments will ben­e­fit both res­i­dents and vis­i­tors alike and pro­vide an eco­nomic stim­u­lus to the area,” said John­son.

Ad­vo­cat­ing for fund­ing to up­grade the road falls un­der a pri­or­ity list es­tab­lished by the MHAs each year.

In the past main­te­nance work on the New Har­bour Bar­rens was a shared re­spon­si­bil­ity be­tween John­son and But­ler. How­ever in 2006 the elec­toral bound­aries changed and the road be­came every­one’s re­spon­si­bil­ity and no one’s re­spon­si­bil­ity. The high­way now falls un­der the pro­vin­cial dis­tricts of Carbonear (Jerome Kennedy) and Trin­ity Bay de Verde (Char­lene John­son). How­ever the New Har­bour Bar­rens is also used daily by hun­dreds of peo­ple from the dis­tricts of Belle­vue (MHA Calvin Peach) and Port de Grave (Roland But­ler).

“None of us are re­spon­si­ble for all of it, but as far as I am con­cerned all of us are re­spon­si­ble for some of it,” said But­ler.“The road isn’t in my district any­more, not even as it once was when Til­ton was part of the district of Port de Grave, but I still ad­vo­cate for re­pairs to it be­cause it is the main link be­tween the two bays. Many peo­ple in Trin­ity Bay come to Bay Roberts to shop or work and vice versa. There­fore each year, just be­fore bud­get time, I go to the depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion and Works looking for fund­ing to re­pair and pave it, How­ever the road is no longer un­der my district bound­ary, so I’m pretty lim­ited. I also have many other roads in my district I have to look out for as well.”

But­ler says pave­ment qual­ity and road­work is a con­cern across the prov­ince.

“The is­sue was put forth as a res­o­lu­tion dur­ing a Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties New­found­land and Labrador con­ven­tion last year,” he said.“It’s hap­pen­ing in many towns and cer­tainly needs to be looked at and ad­dressed.”

Make work project

Mean­while Lloyd Ge­orge, a res­i­dent of White­way, would like to see the New Har­bour Bar­rens com­pletely paved, as op­posed to be­ing “patched up.”

“ It’s a very busy road that con­nects one side of the bay to the other and the en­tire thing needs to be paved,” said Ge­orge. “ By the time they get it all done it will be time to start it all over again.”

Ge­orge says he has spoiled three car rims in the past two years while driv­ing across the bar­rens.

“They have been patch­ing it for years and it’s still not fit to drive on. It’s like a make work project where ev­ery spring they pave just a part of it, just enough to keep a few peo­ple busy for a lit­tle while,” he said. “The politi­cians and gov­ern­ment need to get a plan in place to ad­dress the con­di­tions of roads in the prov­ince like the New Har­bour Bar­rens. They’re the ones hold­ing the purse strings and they’re the ones who say how the money should be spent. The work­ers who carry out the work are only do­ing what they’ve been told to do to the best of their abil­ity, this is gov­ern­ment’s re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

But­ler is glad some work is be­ing car­ried out on the road, but like Ge­orge, he wishes it was more.

“That en­tire road def­i­nitely needs to be done,” he says.“And when bud­get time rolls around next year I will be mak­ing that re­quest once again even though the road is not tech­ni­cally in my district, be­cause I know what it means to the peo­ple in my district. I could care less what politi­cian gets the credit for get­ting the road re­paired, just as long as it gets done.”

Denise Pike/The Com­pass

ROUGH ROAD - Tenders have been called to up­grade, pul­ver­ize and repave five kilo­me­tres of the New Har­bour Bar­rens. The work will start ap­prox­i­mately 8.8 kilo­me­tres from New Har­bour, run for 3.5 kilo­me­tres, skip one kilo­me­tre and then re­sume for ap­prox­i­mately an­other 1.5 kilo­me­tres.

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