Grand Bay-Westfield — Roger Melanson, the honourable minister of Transportation for New Brunswick, is not one to take conflict lying down. After public outrage over a detour in Grand Bay-Westfield resulting in more than 3 phone calls to his home, Melanson has decided to take the matter into his own hands. “If it’s a fight they want,” said the apoplectic minister, “it’s a fight they’ll get.”
The fracas began last week when a 20-foot segment of the bridge at the junction of the NB-177 and NB-102 roads was closed to traffic in one direction. Ostensibly for reasons of “safety” and stretching the work out for “local jobs,” the detour forces local residents to take a 20-minute drive via Brittain road.
While some malcontents chose to criminally disregard the one-way signage and cross the bridge anyway, others took a more confrontational approach. A disgruntled driver, demanding the detour be demolished, posted a sign with the minister’s phone number and urged the public to harangue the minister until something was done.
This, says Melanson, caused the number of phone calls he received that day to more than triple. Not only did it distract him from important provincial business, he claims, but it also interrupted him as he was trying to catch up on Days of Our Lives, which he had TiVo’d earlier that day.
“So I was sitting there on the couch, biting into a Wendy’s Bacon Deluxe Cheeseburger, and the phone rings,” said the minister, “so I pause it just as Stefano is about to ask Abigail to give Chad another chance and answer. It’s some guy who’s complaining about a little bitty detour down in GB-Dubz. What, they can’t put up with a little inconvenience in life?”
The esteemed minister shook his head before going on. “We’ll see how they like it when we close both lanes of the bridge off until December,” he said, chuckling. “Then they’ll really see what an inconvenience can be.”
“I can’t believe this guy,” said Travis Mathison, a local resident affected by the detour. “I mean, at least he has a TiVo to catch up on Days of Our Lives, but for guys like me, what can I do if by the time I get home at 3:20 p.m. I’ve already missed the juiciest parts? How’s that a fairer deal for New Brunswick?”