MHA says pavement on Trans-Labrador Highway is so bad, it’s dangerous

James McLeod
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Labrador Liberal MHA Lisa Dempster says the section of the Trans-Labrador Highway running through her district is so bad that there have been four accidents in the last week alone.

Demster said she’s worried that the problem won’t get fixed until somebody gets killed as a result of the massive potholes and sections of cracked pavement.

Labrador Liberal MHA Lisa Dempster said the road in her district is so bad that it’s causing multiple accidents every week. She sent pictures to the Telegram of a car that was totalled on the stretch of southern Labrador highway. — Submitted photo

“The pavement is 35 years old. The life of pavement is 20 years. So it’s already very bad, but all this heavy beating with this traffic with this megaproject has made it so much worse,” she said. “I was losing a tire every week when I was campaigning.”

On her Facebook page, she posted a photo from a constituent lying down on the road next to a pothole; the hole is bigger than he is tall.

Demster said she believes that traffic related to the Muskrat Falls project is making a bad situation on an old road even worse.

But a spokeswoman from Nalcor said it has not been using that section of road thus far for construction of the hydro project.

Later, the road may get some use, but right now everything is being shipped to Happy Valley-Goose Bay by boat, the spokeswoman said.

Transportation Minister Nick McGrath said he knows the southern Labrador section of highway is in bad condition, but workers are doing all they can.

“Like many of the roads throughout the province, it certainly needs work,” he said. “We keep an eye on it all the time, and we’re constantly doing maintenance work.”

McGrath told The Telegram workers try to use cold-patch to fill pot holes, but after a snow fall, the plows come along and pop the patch out of the hole.

He said he still thinks it’s safe to drive, though.

“You drive according to conditions, and certainly, I wouldn’t say that the section of road between L’ans au Clair is unsafe to drive,” McGrath said. “You certainly have to drive with due diligence and you drive according to conditions.”

Dempster said what really needs to happen is a complete replacement of the pavement up there, considering the heavy traffic coming with the Muskrat Falls project.

But McGrath said replacing the pavement right now would be akin to plowing the roads the day before a snowfall.

Twitter: TelegramJames

Geographic location: Happy Valley, Goose Bay, Southern Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Lola Hancock
    March 18, 2014 - 16:34

    I'm from Forteau Labrador, and the roads from Black Rocks to Red Bay are not suitable to drive on. The holes are everywhere, it is not in one area they are everywhere so we have a full time job straining your eyes trying to find all the potholesso that you don't hit a hole a bust a tire or even roll your machine. If there soon don't be something done about it there will be more accidents or even someone could get killed even. So I hope someone soon puts their foot down and gets something done about this!

  • sylvia marie sampson
    March 18, 2014 - 15:37

    I live in Labrador and for the past four years i've been travelling to and from the straits area to visit my dad who was residing in forteau long term care hospital, the pavement is very bad and the patches are worst. Not only should the pavement be replaced but its time for the goverment to take a good look at putting a real Hospital /Chronic care unit here in Port Hope Simpson. We are in the center of all the other small communities, it makes more sense to travel 50km than 200km to see loved ones. Why don't Mr Mcgraw hop on the Bond for 50 hours and go to the straits and ride on the pavement then make a statement.

  • Alice Moores
    March 18, 2014 - 15:03

    It's obvious that someone must be moving equipment behind the backs of Nalcor if they believe nothing has been coming this way. I live on the main road in Red Bay and there is lots of heavy traffic passing by. And for our minister to say that the roads are not unsafe, well it's obvious that he hasn't spent much time traveling this dirt path(highway). It is absolutely horrible and would he be content with driving 30 or 40 Kilometres per hour in a 70 or 80 kilometre zone on the highway that he travels? Mr. minister, we will remember come election time.

  • Stephen pike
    March 18, 2014 - 13:30

    I'm also from southern labrador I live in lab west now for the pass three years , from all the money and resourses we have taken from us each and every year we have the worst roads in Canada . A pot hole in St Johns ends up being 2 km of new road just to be on the safe side . Seems like we donate so much of our resources such as iron ore , nickel and now power from lower Churchill and get nothing in return ..... O wait ya were suppose to get a increase in our bill for power ........

  • Luanne Rose
    March 18, 2014 - 09:28

    Being from Southern Labrador I am very farmiliar with the road conditions in that area. Over the last 3 years the pavement has been getting worst, the patching that MCGraw talked about placing over the potholes is actually more dangerous then just leaving it as it is. I recently moved to st. John's and as there are potholes in the road here thwy are more of a priority for the government then any part of labrador. Nick McGraw should know what its like being on the back burner with the government because he is from Lab City, but i guess he is no better then Dunderdale was... Labrador always has been on the backburner and always will be unless we can get more people like Lisa Dempster and Yvonne jones to speack up and fight on behalf of our Beautiful Thriving Labrador... With so much Innovation and business coming from Labrador you'd think that money from oir resources could be enough to get some of the things we deserve, such as proper roads to drive on . Take a look in your Bank book Newfoundland... where is your money comming from... time to give back to Labrador!!!

    • Lillian hancock
      April 06, 2014 - 22:21

      The highway h ere in southern Labrador is so worn

  • Hughey Earle
    March 18, 2014 - 05:25

    Mr.Mcgrath is giving false information because they don't use cold patch in the winter. The holes fill in with ice and snow. I know first hand because i'm from the area. Maybe if he had to drive the highway or his family member then he would consider making it a priority or if we had a P.C. member in our area. The picture of that car is my daughter's and she escaped witout injury and it wasn't because of speed.

  • Michael Pike
    March 17, 2014 - 22:24

    The pavement here in the straits is 35 years old. I have recently bought a new car, and it honestly breaks my heart to have to drive it over our roads, with the fear of smashing a pothole and blowing out a tire, which of course can lead to an accident. We also have a school in the area that students between pinware and L'Anse au Clair have to travel everyday to get to school. Parents fear that an accident will occur when they send there kids to school, because of harsh road conditions. It isn't very fair for the Minister of Transportation, who, by the way is from Labrador, to say the roads are safe. What does it take for someone to fix our pavement? An accident to occur? Absolutely sickening. I agree highway crews do they're best, but does anyone really believe that a patch job on 35yr old pavement will do the job? The answer is NO! I drive to work everyday on that road, and in the winter, conditions are even worse! You cannot see the potholes because they may be blinded with snow. And when covered with snow, you don't see them, and once you hit one, your car is all over the road. So it is unfair for the minister to say they are safe, when he doesn't have to drive them daily like us residents. I think it's safe to say that if were around St. John's area, we wouldn't have this problem. ( no offence to residents in St. John's) What does it take to get gov't to understand our situation, it's like we are going in circles on this issue, with no clear vision to fix the problem.We are sick of being put on the back burner! Something needs to be done, before it's too late.

    • Brett
      March 18, 2014 - 08:59

      Trust me - there are plenty of pot holes in the St. John's area. Albeit most of them are covered by the city (being on city roads) not province. We need a better solution than paving the roads so they can crack and be useless in 6 months. We don't need the cycle of road construction jobs, we need good roads.

  • Shanda Wood
    March 17, 2014 - 22:20

    McGrath Newfoundland and Labrador should have forced you out with Dunderdale. You honestly have got to be the most uneducated ridiculous excuse for a government official I have ever encountered.

  • Crazy
    March 17, 2014 - 15:40

    Lisa, I'm not worry about those things, I know when the Liberals come to power, everything will be fine.. True..All the people of N & L has to do hang on for a little while longer, Our knight in shining armour will save us..True...