Route 60 needs major work

Joan Butler
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We may never know the real reason why the provincial government and our town are at odds about maintenance on our main road. While the politicians continue to fight it out, the losers in the debate are us drivers and walkers who have to deal with an unsafe road in many areas of our town.

Conception Bay South Mayor Ken McDonald has publicly complained about his efforts to get officials of the Department of Transportation and Works to meet with the town to discuss the many problems with Route 60 which runs through our town.  

The road between Seal Cove and Topsail has been neglected for many years and the mayor and council wanted to talk about what the province will do to maintain and upgrade the road, which is its responsibility.  

Regular drivers and walkers on the 20-

kilometre stretch of road know there are few crosswalks, washed-out shoulders creating hazards for walkers, and the usual ruts and potholes.

Drivers usually do not see any line painting until July or August.

It is obvious that the department is not giving it any priority, despite the volume of traffic. However, you don’t have to drive far to see that the department is not neglecting other roads.

The south end of Foxtrap Access Road, just past our town boundary, is well maintained with new paving, ditching, line painting and wide gravel shoulders — great for walkers if there were people and walkers living in that far.   

The dispute between the two levels of government was evident in January when the Route 2 bypass extension opened to Seal Cove. The town was not represented at the opening, which was attended by the usual government ministers, plus the mayor of Holyrood.

While our mayor claimed at the time that there were no ill feelings about a reported communication problem about the opening, it was a clear sign that things were not good between the province, or at least the department, and the town.

Transportation and Works Minister Nick McGrath and officials have since met with McDonald and town officials. There is no indication of what, if anything will be done with our road. As it is late summer and the construction season is started, likely nothing will be done this year.

The department’s approach with C.B.S. is perhaps part of the provincial government’s strategy to get towns to take over responsibility for local roads. Our town has been holding out for years, claiming that until the road is up to an acceptable standard, there will be no assuming responsibility.

Downloading responsibility for provincial roads is not new. The Town of Paradise took over its main road several years ago. The City of Mount Pearl is refusing to help maintain the new highway from St. John’s, maintaining it is a provincial road.  

The City of St. John’s agreed to take over the Team Gushue Highway extension to Mount Pearl because the province would not fund it without the commitment.

St. John’s continues to press for Mount Pearl to help maintain the road, and the province is off the hook for looking after what is a provincial or regional road.

At the same time that the provincial government is neglecting Route 60 and trying to download responsibility for other roads, the Department of Transportation and Works uses our tax dollars to maintain roads in the hundreds of incorporated towns in our province.

C.B.S. Adult Choir Camp free concert

The first C.B.S. Adult Choir Camp will culminate in a free concert at Topsail United Church Friday at 7 p.m. Come and enjoy Newfoundland folk songs, other choral favourites and a chance to sing along with the choir. Monetary and food donations gladly accepted in support of the C.B.S./Paradise Food Bank.

Joan Butler is a lifelong resident of

Kelligrews, Conception Bay South.  

She can be reached by email


Organizations: Department of Transportation and Works, Route 2, Topsail United Church

Geographic location: Seal Cove, Mount Pearl, Foxtrap Access Road Holyrood Newfoundland Kelligrews

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Recent comments

  • Stuck in second gear
    August 22, 2014 - 14:00

    Great Column, well written. However there is maybe a little more to the story than the article outlines. For example there used to be a traditional rivalry in heavy industry between operations and maintenance. ".....Maintenance can't keep up with repairs because the equipment is not operated properly and operations can't use systems than are never repaired right....". With two levels of government and a highway the better analogy is Operations AND Maintenance VS Capital upgrading. The argument appears to be that a town is foolish to take over care of a road that they did not build?? Route 60 is probably the oldest in the colony(!) first started by Governor Cochrane almost 200 years ago. The last time any major realignment (improving turns) on the eastern section was in 1945! [For example the streets named Old Topsail Hill and Twin Brooks were part of the pre war (now Route 60) highway]. IMO there need to be an interim agreement between town and DOT – the Town doing maintenance only on sections that have been upgraded. Rebuild the road section by section? But the political discussion is not an even keel. In Canada the Provinces form municipalities by statute and can be suspended(?) by less. One party appears to be in a dominant position over the other. The citizens – services, vehicles and property - squeezed in the stalemate?

  • Johnny B
    August 21, 2014 - 20:30

    They built the by-pass road from Manuels to Seal Cove but the access roads to the by-pass are in an awful state. I blame the CBS councils, past and present for allowing homes to be built on Minerals Road, Foxtrap Access Road, and Legion Road knowing full well the by-pass was coming sooner or later. Now it's impossible to improve them.