Secondary route from Central to West Coast becoming a reality
Province replacing bridges
A proposed mid-island road connection from the Burgeo highway to central Newfoundland has taken another step closer to becoming a reality for central Newfoundland residents.
For the past three years the South West Joint Council group has been lobbying the provincial government to re-establish a series of former wood roads in the area.
The Joint Council is a lobby group made up from 14 towns from Cape St. George to Rose Blanch.
The proposed new route would not only mean a shorter trip across the island, but also provide a safety net for residents.
“We’re quite aware now a heavy rainfall can actually break the Trans Canada Highway sometimes in several places at once,” said Peter Fenwick, Joint Council Chairman. “An alternate route makes a lot of sense, especially if the Burgeo highway is gone.”
Recent rains from Hurricane Michael made the route down Burgeo highway impassable. Although at this point repairs have been affected to the highway, original estimates for the repairs were up to two weeks.
Once the bridge repairs have been completed Fenwick says there are a “couple of washouts” that have to be addressed and then it’s on to the exploratory stage.
“The Mayor of Burgeo, Barbara Barter, and myself were going go to take a run through it, just to see what condition it’s in,” Fenwick told The Advertiser last Wednesday morning.
“And to get a feeling for what we have to do in the future to make it a route that can at least be used in the spring, summer and fall.”
It would seem government has been listening.
“The Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agrifoods, through its Capital Resource Roads Program, has an obligation to the residents of Newfoundland and Labrador to ensure forest resource roads are safe and environmentally sound,” Connie Boland Media Relations Manager for the Department of Forestry and Agrifoods stated in a release issued to the Advertiser Wednesday. “The bridges at Portage Lake and Otter Pond Brook are being replaced because the structures were determined to be unsafe for public and other users. Lloyds River Resource Road is an important road network for forest resource development.”
While not quite a promise to create a new road system, for south-west central residents it is a welcome improvement.
“To be fair, the government was very cooperative, they told us what the problem was, told us what there budget was…,” said Fenwick. “They basically just went ahead and did it. I called them up and said I was sort of hoping they would notify us, but that doesn’t matter. As far as we’re concerned, it’s done.”