Road rage

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What in the name of sanctity is going on? Are capital expenditures projects/costs decided on nepotism or what’s best for the taxpayers of Newfoundland and Labrador?

The pavement on the Outer Ring Road, Muskrat Falls and traffic lights are just a few annoyances to those of us trying to understand what’s going on and analyzing things through the lens of common sense. How is it we can mobilize the hounds of war when a cod or seal harvest is threatened with fishermen taking over government buildings and blockading the ferries but matters that affect much larger portions of the population garner almost no pushback whatsoever?

The time will come when Muskrat Falls is mentioned, people will realize we had two Joey decisions on the Labrador power generating issue — one made by Joey and the other rammed down our throats by Danny.

Danny’s inability to play nice with others in the sandbox will cost this province for decades. The taxpayers will never get out from under the debt created by these bad decisions. Hydro rates are climbing steadily and Nalcor is looking for another rate increase. Expect these to be greater increases more often as debt load over the Muskrat Falls project are realized in real time, not paper projections. There were other ways to provide power to Dannyville.

Ultimately that is what this is all about — industrial growth, growth that benefits almost nobody in the province but the privileged few business owners at the top.

Ask yourself this: how has your life improved because of this industrial boom bubble hovering over the east coast of Newfoundland? Has your debt load gone down? Do you spend more time with your family? Are you living better today than last year this time? How much better and why?

For the most part those people that I am speaking with are hungrier now than they were five years ago. Wages are deplorable and the cost of living, here in St. John’s in particular, is soaring. Yet the average worker had twice as much to spend after adjustments in 1971 than they do today.

And while people in the province go hungry and struggle to make ends meet the province paves the Outer Ring Road again.

How about just doing it right the first time and leaving it alone?

Paving standards all over the world have been studied and set to accommodate the environment in which the road will exist. Most countries have compaction and pavement standards much higher than in Newfoundland.

I have witnessed the gravel bed poke through in places, especially on the C.B.S. Access Highway with only a 40-50mm cut! Minimum standard for road thickness in most places using modern paving techniques is 280mm plus of asphalt on the bed — five and six times the thickness on most roads here.

I have heard countless times how studs are causing the ruts on the roads. Although studs are damaging, this argument is ridiculous. The damage is obviously being caused by heavy loads, especially on hotter days.

This is happening because there is not enough asphalt laid down to support the loads being constantly hauled over the highways. You can resurface the Outer Ring Road until you are blue in the face.

This will not stop until the roads are repaired properly and plenty of good quality asphalt is used.

The autobahn was built during the 1920s and 1930s and has no ruts to this day. I have driven on it and the pavement is original. If the Germans can build a road that lasts 80-plus years why can’t we keep ruts out of ours for more than two years?

The taxpayers of this province cannot afford to pay to have the same work done over and over and over again.

Jeff Lear writes from St. John’s.

Geographic location: Outer Ring Road, Muskrat Falls, Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • Chris Newell
    August 07, 2014 - 22:05

    I stopped finding Danny amusing when he got on like a child and had all the Canadian flags removed from provincial government buildings. Only perpetuating the nonsensical attitude some people in this province hold onto- that we'd be able to now, or back in 1949 heading forward, survive on our own. In regards to the roads themselves, 've been wondering the same thing, year in and year out, for too many years now. Kelsey Drive is such a new area in terms of development in the city, yet the road up there is like swiss cheese on a hot day in June! Absolute madness. Whenever a hole in the road crops up, they poke it full of gravel, probably at 7pm at night in the pouring rain mind you, and expect it to be fine. They should NOT have to repair the same stretches of road every year. On a side note, St. John's seems to want to gear itself towards being a "big city" (for lack of a better description), yet it's run like the Ziggy Peelgood's van. Actually, the chip van is run more efficiently, I'd say. What I don't understand, or better what I do understand but can't fully grasp, is why the city has workers out at 8am on a Monday morning tearing up Kenmount Road? It's completely foolish. The city probably doesn't want to pay the extra rates to have workers out in the evenings, so we have to deal with major roads being full of traffic jams and construction workers? Then they have the nerve to keep saying "respect the workers"- I respect them, I just don't think their bosses know how to organize an outhouse. I love this city, but it has got a long way to go before it becomes the thriving metropolis it wishes it could be.

  • Dennis Burden
    August 07, 2014 - 20:51

    Joey gonna look like a Saint when the Muskrat corruption comes to light !!

  • Dood
    August 07, 2014 - 16:45

    The history books will not remember Williams well. Danny turned being Premier into a business. Tobacco lawsuit deals, land deals, mining deals,etc. the potential of the profits for him and his buddies, such as Jerome Kennedy, are in the billions. As for the rest of NL, let them eat cake.

  • The Pipes Are Calling
    August 07, 2014 - 12:56

    I'm guessing that you won't be taking in the Danny Williams documentary airing at The Atlantic Film Festival this year.

    • Dolf
      August 07, 2014 - 16:35

      I hope it's a roast.