They bedevil drivers on the Avalon Peninsula: ruts in the roads. They are nuisances at best and hazards at worst, especially when wet.
In some places, the holes are dotted across the highways. In others, worn out patches of varying width are clustered like chains of islands, archipelagos of absent asphalt. In some spots — such as the eastbound lane of Route 2 from Conception Bay South — the ruts are like reverse railroad tracks, parallel grooves carved into the pavement, running 100 metres at a stretch.
Those companies that rely on safe travel for their livelihoods — delivery companies, trucking companies, taxi services — are pleased with the provincial government’s announcement Wednesday of rut repair for some of the Avalon’s highest-traffic, and therefore hardest-hit, roads.
Tom Hedderson, minister of transportation and works, announced the tender Wednesday for the repaving of about 8.7 lane-kilometres of the Outer Ring Road from Torbay Road to Kenmount Road, about 10 lane-kilometres of the Trans-Canada Highway between the Route 2 interchange and Foxtrap, and about 6.8 lane-kilometres of Route 2 from Kilbride to Fowlers Road. A lane-kilometre is one kilometre’s worth of pavement in one lane. If one kilometre of a two-lane highway is repaved, for example, that would total two lane-kilometres.
Doug McCarthy, general manager of taxi and delivery company Co-Op Taxi, welcomed the repaving announcement, calling the those areas worn out, in particular the Outer Ring Road.
“They’ve been shaved and repaired, shaved and repaired that many times that they have to be redone,” he said.
He chalked it up to the sheer volume of traffic.
“You park your car in the driveway, same spot every day? You’re going to get ruts in your driveway. Same thing with the highway,” he said.
Glen Dowden, freight dispatcher for East Can Transport on Logy Bay Road, said the company’s drivers share information with each other about the state of repair of different stretches of road.
“The patchwork doesn’t seem to work at all. I don’t know why,” he said. “I’m very fortunate to have some good company drivers, and they treat our trucks just like our own. When they’re in the garage, they’re not making money, so they’re very conscious of the road conditions.”
He said he’s happy to hear about the repaving, which is scheduled to be finished by the end of autumn.
“They definitely need to have a lot of work done,” he said. “I have to go in and out to Donovans a few times, and the bridges, the overpasses and bridges where they join, are in pretty rough shape. Obviously they all need to be repaired, but I don’t know if there’s a permanent solution because they all wear out again after a while. The ruts in the road are the biggest problem. I don’t know what grade or what they base their thickness of pavement on, but it’s pretty dangerous out there when it’s raining. When it’s raining out there, you know something’s going to happen.”
McCarthy said as bad as the highways are, it’s worse within St. John’s.
“The city streets are terrible,” he said, adding that the city’s repair crews take too long between scraping up the old pavement and replacing it. “They leave it for like a week or 10 days or 12 days before they come back and repave it. That creates havoc on the front end of your car like you wouldn’t believe.”