Bumpy road

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A lady from the community of Conche sent a letter to the editor that ran in this week’s Northern Pen, talking about the deplorable conditions of her town’s roads, and the condition of that town’s neighbouring highway.

First, expressing those concerns through the local newspaper is a great avenue to take. The staff would rather include local letters instead of letters written from someone off of the Northern Peninsula.

Second, one has to realize that although roads may be bad within a municipality, or even on well-used highways, government won’t dish out the nearly $20 million it’s going to take to pave 17 kilometres of deteriorated highway.

It will never happen.

If the provincial government announced tomorrow that it’s going to spend that kind of money to repave 17 km of highway road, the rest of the province will be up in arms so fast, and so angrily, you’ll think another moratorium was announced.

The highways on this beautiful peninsula, and the conditions on municipal roads, aren’t only issues here. It’s an issue all over the island.

As mentioned in a previous edition, Route 360 was named the worst highway in Atlantic Canada, yet 17 km of repaving will never get done on that highway in one shot, and it will never get done here.

One has to remember, although highway and road conditions are crucial to the safety of motorists, dishing out money throughout the province is almost like babysitting a group of 20 children. You can’t give one three scoops of ice cream when the rest get just a single scoop. Kids will cry, they’ll go to their parents, who, in turn, will question why one kid was treated more favourably than the rest.

The same thing will happen if 17 km of highway is repaved here, while other highways, like Route 360, get significantly less.

The other issue she brought up was the Town of Conche’s financial contribution to a chip seal project, which, according to the letter writer, was a waste.

She asked, “If the government realized the chip seal was indeed unfit, then why wasn’t the Town given back what it had invested? At least then we may have had the opportunity to secure money for pavement.”

Although that would be a welcomed sight for the Town of Conche and its residents, doesn’t that town council have the responsibility to research this specific chip seal project before it invested money?

If one invests in the stock market, only to lose millions on a bad investment, that person can’t say, oh, I was told this was a good stock, so can I have my money back?

Just because the chip seal project seemed like a good way to keep town roads in good condition doesn’t necessarily mean it has a 100 per cent success rate.

Whoever invested money in this project, especially if it’s significant, should have done their due diligence. If, as the letter writer leads us to believe, that the project was not successful, then red flags should have been evident in the research phase.

Listen, this editorial isn’t supposed to sound negative, but we, the public, can’t expect government to dish out millions and millions and millions of dollars to pave 17 km of highway.

It’s absurd.

And, if anyone invests in road work, do your research, and make sure it’s thorough. If someone has concerns regarding a specific project, then take the time to fully investigate that concern before writing cheques.

Take a look at your contract. Are you responsible if the project isn’t successful? If you are, then, well, it’s there in writing.

Change comes with time, not all at once.

Good luck.


Geographic location: Conche, Atlantic Canada

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Recent comments

  • Bill
    July 19, 2012 - 08:36

    This article tells it the way it is. While about 6 million dollars has been spent on this road over the past few years, i do not anticipate much more being spent over the next few years. There are lots of roads in the province that want/need repairs. We all have to wait our turn. And Carm if you want some clarification there is pavement once you leave Rt 430(Viking Trail). You can either turn off at Plum Point or the St Anthony Airport and get on Route 432, and then proceed to the Roddickton area on Rt 433. The turnoff to Conche is actually off Rt 433. (Just look at one of the maps of NL and you will get all this information). And the chipseal was on more than community roads...it was also on abt 5-6 kms of the Conche Road. And i think i heard that this 5-6 kms have been 'repaved' over the past few weeks.

  • Carm Smith
    July 04, 2012 - 14:37

    In your article you keep referring to the 17 kms of highway as being 're'paved. You should really go to Conche for a drive someday, to get a feel for what the people see. The road is not and has never been paved. There is no pavement to be seen once you leave route 430. The 17 kms refers to the drive from the highway into the town. In the actual town there is some chipseal (not pavement), which requires yearly upgrades. So 're'paving the roads in not applicable, as they have never had pavement.....just thought you needed some clarification on this.