Road con­di­tions on Route 70 and Route 75

The Compass - - Editorial - Harold Peach writes from Salmon Cove

It is risky, even dan­ger­ous, to main­tain a com­fort­able driv­ing speed without a foot ready to hit the brake as the holes tend to ap­pear with, and without, posted no­tice.

I am not writ­ing this to be arrogant, bla­tant, or can­tan­ker­ous. I am an in­nocu­ous per­son who be­lieves we de­serve bet­ter and it is far past the time to pub­licly dis­cuss the road con­di­tions of Con­cep­tion Bay North (CBN).

Since my first visit to St. John’s, I have fre­quently en­joyed the slow drive on the sin­gle lane high­way of scenic Route 70 and Route 60 from my home to St. John’s. To­day the drive to St. John’s, with the re­cent ad­di­tion of Route 75, Vet­er­ans Memo­rial High­way, takes less time, how­ever, it is far less scenic.

If Route 75 was con­structed to quicken the drive from CBN to the Trans-Canada High­way (TCH) and points be­yond, then Trans­porta­tion and Works and Min­is­ter Al Hawkins needs to closely mon­i­tor the con­di­tion of the high­way.

Be­sides the ex­pected holes and bumps that ap­pear ev­ery spring, there are more alarm­ing con­di­tions caus­ing driv­ers greater stress than sim­ply avoid­ing holes or bumps. They are bla­tantly clear to those who drive over this high­way in the spring, as the thin as­phalt breaks and leaves craters that de­mand driv­ers to quickly brake.

It is risky, even dan­ger­ous, to main­tain a com­fort­able driv­ing speed without a foot ready to hit the brake as the holes tend to ap­pear with, and without, posted no­tice.

There are 12 bridges and over­passes from my home to the TCH via Route 70 and Route 75. It is far too pre­sump­tu­ous to ex­pect the en­try and the exit over these bridges and over­passes to be a smooth and pleas­ant ex­pe­ri­ence.

Sev­eral are con­structed of ce­ment, with a thin as­phalt coat­ing, at­tempt­ing to cre­ate a smooth high­way. How­ever, far too of­ten this as­phalt breaks and cre­ates a rough en­try and exit for un­sus­pect­ing driv­ers.

Be­sides the dam­age this causes mo­tor ve­hi­cles and the risk of a mo­tor ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dent, this is de­spi­ca­ble and makes driv­ers antsy. A come from away (CFA) driver may not re­al­ize why the au­to­mo­bile in front nearly comes to a screech­ing halt ap­proach­ing one of our bridges and over­passes and this same CFA may have choice words to de­scribe the driv­ing habits of our driv­ers on Routes 70 and 75.

The worst over­pass on Route 75 is the fi­nal over­pass as a driver nears the TCH. It has been in the same dan­ger­ous con­di­tion for years; the as­phalt has sep­a­rated from the ce­ment struc­ture, leav­ing large, rough ar­eas to meet au­to­mo­biles as they de­cel­er­ate to ap­proach the off ramp to the TCH.

Many driv­ers from CBN avoid this rough area of the high­way by chang­ing into the op­po­site lane. This is not shenani­gans or chau­vin­ist; it is the com­mon prac­tice of many CBN driv­ers who exit Route 75 east to­wards St. John’s. This is a dan­ger­ous prac­tice that may lead to a head-on col­li­sion.

Of all the bridges on Routes 70 and 75, the bridge go­ing south­west from Salmon Cove to Vic­to­ria has to be the worst. Even driv­ing be­low the posted speed of 50 km/hr, driv­ers brake quickly as they ap­proach and exit the bridge; I have of­ten wit­nessed near ac­ci­dents as a car brakes and the fol­low­ing car nearly rearends it.

To make my con­cern known, I have in the past emailed the PC Min­is­ter of Trans­porta­tion and Works and re­ceived a mean­ing­less re­ply email that ex­plained the rea­son for the poor con­di­tion of the bridge.

More re­cently I emailed Hawkins, how­ever, I have yet to re­ceive a re­sponse.

Af­ter my sec­ond email I did re­ceive a tele­phone call from a gov­ern­ment em­ployee who in­formed me that the only pro­vin­cial money bud­geted for 2017 con­struc­tion sea­son for Route 70 is a re­place­ment bridge near­ing Spout Cove. Dis­ap­point­ing!

The en­gi­neer or gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial who signed the pa­per­work at the end of the con­struc­tion or paving of a bridge or over­pass needs to be more cog­nizant of the work.

Gov­ern­ment mem­bers who award con­tracts for road and bridge work need to write stricter guide­lines for the specifications of the con­struc­tion so that things have war­ranty to stay in bet­ter con­di­tion for a longer time.

Fur­ther­more, when a voter brings their con­cerns to the at­ten­tion of a min­is­ter of our elected pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment, that min­is­ter should re­mem­ber how they got there.

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