Ode to the road

Area road enforcements by the MInistry of Transportation draw fire.

Every day while I am working, I look over the section of Stuart Drive/Highway 27 which leads straight down from One Mile Hill, the route briningin trucks from the North Road.

Each and every day I am amazed by the sheer volume of industrial trucks along this route, and the road is a subject I am sure my friends are tired of me bringing up, as I am often talking about some aspect of it.

Everyone seems concerned about the large volumes of traffic — the large trucks are too often speeding, and too often using their engine breaks within the town, where bylaws prohibit this.

I considered spending a sunny day on my deck counting the number of trucks passing by, and the number which used their breaks illegally as they tried to slow down for the sharp right-angle turn after Cottonwood Park. I estimate in the 30 per cent range many days.

I never seemed to find the time while it was warm and sunny, but with the recent information from the Ministry of Transportation given to the local mayor and council, numbers along the road are once again on my mind.

But this time, the numbers which interest me are the costs.

While the ministry provided the information the North Road has cost in excess of $500,000 in additional repairs due to damage by illegal load-hauling during periods of weight-restriction, and will cost “at least double to return the road to the condition it was in,” the ministry provided little satisfaction for some very pressing questions before the paper went to press, after a number of interactions with polite and helpful communications persons who are practiced at producing meaningless sound bites but have no direct knowledge of the topic at hand.

Questions about why was more not done to stop the illegal hauling damaging the road, and what is going to be done to address the problem?

Without some real answers, the statement the ministry made a “concerted effort” to have the Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement (CVSE) staff in the area seems to ring a little hollow to my ears.

When I spoke to someone in the CVSE who asked not to be quoted (because I am only supposed to speak to the communications person), he said there had been no direction given to prioritize or specifically address issues involving the North Road. He said there were patrols, but he was not aware of any direction for additional enforcement and there was only a certain budget alloted for this.

It seems to me the $1 million in additional repairs required to return the road to its pre-spring state would have bought a lot of man-hours of enforcement and perhaps had a better long-term impact on the problem. It also may have satisfied a few frustrated residents further along the road who might be getting a bit tired of having their passenger vehicles beat to pieces because some industrial users are choosing to take advantage.