Roads will remain imperfect
Newfoundland and Labrador will never be in the clear when it comes to the state of its roads. It’s a forgone conclusion that once the winter passes, some cracks and holes will start to emerge. Every few years (or probably every year in some cases), there’ll be more work needed to fix up the roads.
For the stretch of Route 70 going from Roaches Line all the way through to Harbour Grace, getting it looked after is probably proving more difficult these days than in years past.
It remains a provincial road, and was the primary route for getting to Carbonear when coming from St. John’s. The introduction of the Veterans Memorial Highway changed all that. While a place like Bay Roberts filled with shops would still get a fair bit of traffic, other communities have likely witnessed a dramatic decrease in traffic volume.
But even with reduced traffic, the elements still do their damage on an annual basis. Meanwhile, towns remain reliant on the provincial government to find the money to fix these roads. Unlike municipal roads, where towns can engage in cost-sharing projects to fix them up, Route 70 is entirely the province’s responsibility.
In his letter to the editor you can read on the same page as this editorial, reader Bill Westcott discusses the state of the highway (or road, as he prefers to call it) from South River to Clarke’s Beach. He calls it “a ticking time bomb.”
Bay Roberts has looked at the possibility of taking over a portion of the highway, with the logic being this would give the town more freedom to engage in roadwork and sidewalk projects. Such an arrangement might also help with attracting the funds necessary to make road improvements, given the town would now be looking at sharing some of the associated costs with the province.
Some might label this as a form of downloading expenses to municipalities. Beyond paying for road repairs, towns would also need to take into consideration how they would manage snowclearing when assuming control of a provincial road.
But it’s also clear that these roads are no longer being used as they were decades ago. They do not represent the primary route for people travelling to-and-from the Conception Bay North region.
Rather than wait for the province to cough up all the money needed for this work, perhaps it’s better for towns to take a pro-active approach.
Unlike municipal roads, where towns can engage in cost-sharing projects to fix them up, Route 70 is entirely the province’s responsibility.