Fredericton — After a review of the province’s highway infrastructure, a civil engineering firm fears that the province could soon lose its vaunted “drive-through province” reputation.
The report, titled “2016 Status of the Province’s Highways, Roads, and Ugly Dirt Roads: Conditions & Performance,” cites many instances where the province’s transportation infrastructure is in such bad shape that tourists would be “grievously affected” by driving upon them.
“Some of the main roads that connect Quebec to Nova Scotia are in dreadful condition,” stated the report’s author, Kenneth Nowlan. “Near Hartland, there is a 4-lane highway with 3 lanes still under construction. And have you heard about ‘The Lincoln Monster’? It’s a pothole near Lincoln on Route 2 that swallowed a whole snowplow. The plow went into the pothole and hasn’t been seen again.
“If these things start happening to tourists, the province will not be able to refer to itself as a drive-through province because you just won’t be capable of driving all the way through it.”
Nowlan pointed out some poignant statistics, such as the province’s “collapsed culvert per kilometre of road” ratio (1:1, highest in Canada) and “unnecessary scenic look-out locations” (second only to the Yukon) that support his position.
Department of Transportation spokesperson Darlene Rhodes disagrees. “Our roads and highways have been abominable since time immemorial,” she said. “This hasn’t stopped drivers from driving through the province before. In fact, it often encouraged them to drive faster and push through to reach their out-of-province destinations. We don’t think that a few potholes or a missing bridge or two will make a lick of difference.”
The province is continuing to examine the report’s findings and will issue a full statement later in the summer.