Speaking to The Telegram about his recent collision, Newfoundland MP Ryan Cleary suggested the province needs to do more to keep moose off the highway.
Cleary said he didn’t think the two experimental detection systems on the island were the answer. He said they only work half the time and called them a joke.
“People are laughing about the fact they are driving by these detection systems and there are moose trotting by and the system doesn’t light up,” Cleary said.
Noting that fencing has helped reduce collisions in New Brunswick, the MP said the Newfoundland and Labrador government should consider more of that.
The province’s minister for Transportation and Works said the province hasn’t committed to anything yet, and is still gathering information on various options being tested.
Paul Davis said there are two different sets of these experimental detection systems, one in the eastern part of the province and one in central.
Fencing is being tried in the western part of the province, he noted.
“They are pilot projects to test the capabilities of known technologies that exist today to see if they are worthwhile investments to reduce accident rates with moose,” Davis said.
The minister said his department doesn’t yet have sufficient data to make a final decision on the best option.
He acknowledged there have been recent issues with the electronic systems, which were both installed by Safeguards Canada.
The central system, located just east of Grand Falls-Windsor, was damaged by a motor vehicle collision and parts had to be ordered to repair it.
The sensors on the east coast, located east of Salmonier Line, had software issues.
Davis said it’s valuable to know how long it takes to repair a system once it’s damaged, and also if software upgrades can bring the setup to where it should be.
As for the fencing on the west coast — which runs west of Gallants Road junction to east of Barachois Pond Provincial Park — Davis said it appears to be functioning well, although there was a moose-vehicle collision there recently.
“So, we know that it’s not a foolproof system,” he said. “We know collisions can happen there.”
Davis noted that whatever system the province installs, it wouldn’t help reduce the possibility of collisions where Cleary had his.
He said the accident happened in Terra Nova National Park, where the Trans-Canada Highway is a federal responsibility.
The provincial Department of Environment and Conservation has also increased the number of moose hunting licences along the Trans-Canada.