Nalcor vice-president Gilbert Bennett says the equipment travelling on the coastal drive part of the Trans-Labrador Highway is within the bounds of what the road can handle. — Photo by The Labradorian
Provincial NDP Leader Lorraine Michael is worried about how “vastly increased truck traffic headed to and from Muskrat Falls” will affect the state of roads in southern Labrador.
In a statement issued by the NDP Thursday, Michael said the road through southeastern Labrador — the Labrador Coastal Drive — is being damaged by transport of heavy equipment to the Lower Churchill construction site at Muskrat Falls.
The Labrador Coastal Drive includes the communities of Forteau, Red Bay, Mary’s Harbour, Port Hope Simpson and Paradise River.
“People on the south coast of Labrador are worried and even fearful about the condition of their road,” Michael stated. “Many have talked to me about road damage by traffic bringing heavy equipment to the Muskrat Falls construction site.”
Nalcor Energy vice-president and Lower Churchill project lead Gilbert Bennett told The Telegram the coastal drive is not a main route for transports of material and machinery to the worksite at Muskrat Falls.
He said heavy transports for construction work on the hydroelectric dam on the Churchill River are coming mainly from the west, along the Trans-Labrador Highway from Quebec, or from the port in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
With that said, he acknowledged the coastal route will be in greater use as the construction work on the Labrador-Island link peaks. However, he said, the loads rolling over the road are well within the bounds of what the infrastructure can handle.
He said consideration of the road was part of the environmental review process.
“There’s been a lot of work done on that issue,” he said.
Meanwhile, Michael stated she has written Transportation and Works Minister Paul Davis, seeking direct response from him to her concerns.