Road re­pairs

Trans­porta­tion Min­is­ter says re­con­nect­ing Bur­geo high­way to the prov­ince is a big­ger job than some oth­ers

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - Front Page - BY BRYAN TAIT & ADAM RAN­DELL

Trans­porta­tion Min­is­ter Al Hawkins says re­pairs to Route 480 will take some time af­ter washout.

Re­con­nect­ing the Bur­geo High­way is a pri­or­ity for the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment af­ter the Thanks­giv­ing Day storm. But it may take a lit­tle time. On Oct. 12, Trans­porta­tion and Works Min­is­ter Al Hawkins was tour­ing ar­eas where roads were washed away af­ter the re­mains of Hur­ri­cane Matthew passed over the is­land.

Hawkins was asked about Route 480, which connects Bur­geo to the Trans-Canada High­way (TCH). A ma­jor washout on the high­way left res­i­dents of Bur­geo, Ramea, Fran­cois and Grey River stranded.

Hawkins said the re­pairs are a pri­or­ity, but early in­di­ca­tions were it would take at least a week to get the road open.

“It’s an area we’ll be con­cen­trat­ing on, but it’s a bit of a big­ger job than some of the oth­ers,” Hawkins said.

Route 480 has long been a source of con­cern for res­i­dents due to lack of main­te­nance over the years.

Just this year, ap­prox­i­mately 90 cul­verts were re­placed along the road. Hawkins said his un­der­stand­ing was the washout oc­curred in an area where the cul­vert had not yet been re­placed.

Hawkins was asked if the some of the dam­age to Route 480 could have been avoided if re­pairs had been be­fore this year, but the min­is­ter said that would be dif­fi­cult to an­swer.

“We could never guess that,” he said. “One of the things we have to face in this prov­ince is that we do have, in some ar­eas, ag­ing in­fra­struc­ture that has cer­tainly been com­pro­mised over the years. We are do­ing the best we pos­si­bly can and pay­ing some at­ten­tion to the Bur­geo High­way.”

Bur­geo-La Poile MHA An­drew Par­sons said he was happy the prov­ince was step­ping up quickly to solve the prob­lem.

The road pre­vi­ously washed out in 2014, but re­pairs went a lit­tle faster be­cause it was the only emer­gency in the prov­ince.

“Your re­sources are split a lot of dif­fer­ent ways,” Par­sons said. “They’re deal­ing with this not just in Bur­geo.”

Washouts across the prov­ince cre­ated prob­lems through­out last week. The most sig­nif­i­cant was the TCH through Terra Nova Na­tional Park, which only re­opened to traf­fic on Wed­nes­day evening.

Par­sons said there’s no doubt peo­ple are frus­trated, but for the most part they have been un­der­stand­ing given the cir­cum­stances.

“Now it’s just a mat­ter of work­ing through the lo­gis­tics and the prac­ti­cal­i­ties of get­ting peo­ple where they have to go in as sen­si­ble fash­ion as we can,” he said.

Trans­porta­tion and Works Min­is­ter Al Hawkins

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