Bumpy roads ahead

Valley Journal Advertiser - - COVER STORY -

prompted some re­pairs.

Given that we have a pro­vin­cial elec­tion wind­ing up soon, I was fas­ci­nated to hear from for­mer MLA Ra­mona Jen­nex that that 50 per cent of the con­cerns she heard knock­ing on doors dur­ing her last cam­paign in 2013 were re­lated to roads.

“That was num­ber one at the door,” she stated, fol­lowed by In­ter­net ser­vice and jobs. “The pub­lic wants an in­vest­ment in trans­porta­tion.”

Jen­nex, who be­longed to the Dex­ter NDP gov­ern­ment, con­ducted a wise tour when she was in of­fice, invit­ing the trans­porta­tion min­is­ter to tour sec­ondary roads in Kings County. The tour ended with the es­tab­lish­ment of a five-year plan for road re­newal.

Now I’ve heard from an in­cum­bent politi­cian that some of the more than 23,000 kilo­me­tres of road­ways in Nova Sco­tia may have to re­turn to gravel. Paving and repaving is ob­vi­ously costly. But surely the work is in­evitable.

Our big road prob­lem in this prov­ince is the freeze/thaw cy­cle we ex­pe­ri­ence ev­ery win­ter, which is rec­og­nized as a per­fect recipe for pot­holes. A tem­po­rary cold patch doesn’t help a whole lot and longer­last­ing hot patch­ing ap­par­ently has to wait un­til this time of year – and does it last?

Most springs, the Trans­porta­tion and In­fra­struc­ture Re­newal (TIR) depart­ment runs a toll-free phone line, so that the pub­lic can point out prob­lem pot­holes by call­ing 1-888432-3233. That num­ber con­nects call­ers to the near­est TIR base.

For 100 se­ries high­ways and trunk roads, I’m told pot­holes deeper than four inches are marked with a sign as soon as staff be­comes aware of them and are re­paired within seven days. For roads with lower traf­fic vol­umes, pot­holes must be signed within 24 hours and are sup­posed to be re­paired within 21 days. Pot­holes that pose a sig­nif­i­cant and im­me­di­ate dan­ger are re­paired as soon as depart­ment staff is aware of them, says TIR.

Are pot­holes an elec­tion is­sue? Are Nova Sco­tians de­mand­ing bet­ter trans­porta­tion routes? Should pave­ment re­newal be the re­sult of po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence? I hate to think that old style pol­i­tics, or hav­ing a gov­ern­ment mem­ber, will af­fect how soon roads get fixed in this prov­ince.

The vot­ers of this fair prov­ince want bet­ter pol­i­tics than that and we de­serve open, fair and trans­par­ent gov­er­nance.

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