When asked about the state of the roads in St. John’s, Shannon Roberts laughed, sitting in her North West Taxi cab outside the Village Mall.
© Rhonda Hayward
“People buying new cars in this city, you’ve got to be cracked,” Roberts said. “It takes a toll on the cars.”
Roberts said she’s had the tires changed on her car, and the rims have been dented.
It’s not just the potholes either; it’s also the grind and patch work all over the city. Roberts estimates it takes about a week and a half on average from when the road is torn up to when the new pavement is put down.
That’s not good enough, according to Ward 2 Coun. Jonathan Galgay. He said filling the potholes is a matter for city crews, but when it comes to the grind and patch efforts over the summer, that’s the responsibility of contractors.
“There’s only supposed to be a day in between on our high priority streets, and it should be a three-day period in between the removal and repaving on low priority streets,” Galgay said. “What we’re seeing is inconsistency, and people are absolutely right in saying it’s frustrating.”
Galgay said city council has asked staff to talk to contractors, and press them to stick to those one- and three-day timelines.
One of the big factors that can throw a wrench into the machinery, though, is the weather.
Scott Barfoot, director of communications for the Department of Transportation and Works, said temperatures have been causing problems.
“Weather conditions play a large role in the timing associated with project completion. Optimal conditions for the required tack coat and paving are when it is above seven degrees and dry; if it is cold and wet the effectiveness of this work is compromised and is not a best practice,” Barfoot said in an email. “Circumstances from project to project vary but to the question on delays between milling and filling, that could be attributed to the cold, damp weather that we have been experiencing.”
Galgay pointed out that this week, though, there’s no excuse. With a forecast of daily temperatures in the mid-20s, and several clear sunny days, He expects that the road patchwork shouldn’t last too long.
“People have a right to complain about it,” he said.