Highway is up to standard, says minister
RCMP ‘ hesitant’ to blame road condtions for accidents on Veterans highway
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.