High­way is up to stan­dard, says min­is­ter

RCMP ‘ hes­i­tant’ to blame road cond­tions for ac­ci­dents on Vet­er­ans high­way

The Compass - - NEWS - BY TERRY ROBERTS edi­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Of­fi­cials with the pro­vin­cial govern­ment and the RCMP are de­fend­ing the con­di­tion of Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial High­way, and say they are more concerned with the habits of mo­torists as the num­ber of ac­ci­dents on the high­way in­crease.

“ There’s a lot of rea­sons why we have ac­ci­dents, and a lot of them go back to the driver,” said Trans­porta­tion and Works Min­is­ter Tom Hed­der­son.

S/Sgt. Rick Robin­son, com­man­der of the Trin­ity Con­cep­tion District RCMP, said the high­way is in “good con­di­tion,” and em­pha­sized that driv­ers have the ul­ti­mate re­spon­si­bil­ity when it comes to travers­ing our high­ways.

Hed­der­son and Robin­son were re­spond­ing to con­cerns raised by the owner/op­er­a­tor of a driv­ing school in Bay Roberts. Lynn Strong says the high­way is dan­ger­ous and be­lieves govern­ment needs to add pass­ing lanes and re­view the con­fig­u­ra­tion of the t-in­ter­sec­tions along the route. She also com­plained about the place­ment of bro­ken yel­low lines, and a grow­ing prob­lem with rut­ting.

Hed­der­son ac­knowl­edged there have been com­plaints about the road “over the years,” but said it meets stan­dards es­tab­lished by the Trans­porta­tion As­so­ci­a­tion of Canada and is one of the new­est high­ways in the prov­ince, hav­ing been com­pleted less than a decade ago.

He added, “I don’t see any ma­jor plans to up­grade that road.”

He pledged that ac­tion will be taken “if the rut­ting gets to a cer­tain con­di­tion,” and on the is­sue of pass­ing lanes, noted, “there are pe­ri­odic places … you can get around slow­mov­ing traf­fic.”

As for the North River in­ter­sec­tion, which only has on-and of­framps on the south side, to­wards the Trans-Canada High­way, he re­ferred to it as an “af­ter­thought” that was “never in­tended to be there.”

Many driv­ers make il­le­gal u-turns at the in­ter­sec­tion, but Hed­der­son said, “pru­dent driv­ers don’t break the law.”

His mes­sage was the same when asked about the haz­ards of t-in­ter­sec­tions.

“ This is not a ma­jor thor­ough­fare. This is a two-lane high­way that al­lows you to by­pass some of the com­mu­ni­ties and go di­rectly to the Trans-Canada or fur­ther into Con­cep­tion Bay. Ev­ery at­tempt was made to do proper turn-offs,” he said.

He added: “ We’re still con­fi­dent that road is what it should be, and we fully ex­pect driv­ers to be pru­dent when they drive on that high­way.”

Robin­son, mean­while, de­scribed Vet­er­ans high­way as “as good or bet­ter than a lot of sec­ondary high­ways across this prov­ince.”

He said the num­ber of ac­ci­dents are on the in­crease, but stated: “I’m hes­i­tant to sup­port peo­ple that blame the high­way for ac­ci­dents. I think driver ac­tions are a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to these ac­ci­dents.”

Robin­son said the high­way is not per­fect, but re­minded mo­torists of how far that road net­work in the prov­ince has ad­vanced in the past two or three decades.

“ Un­less they’re will­ing to put a com­pletely di­vided high­way there, it doesn’t get a lot bet­ter,” he said.

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