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Codroy roads approaching crisis

Loch Lomond Road in the Codroy Valley has been crumbling for years.

CODROY VALLEY – Residents of Codroy Valley are still driving on rough and crumbling roads despite some much needed patchwork this summer. MHA Scott Reid (St. George’s – Humber) visits the area often and has kept an eye on the repair progress.

“It’s not perfect now but it was pretty bad before,” admits Reid. “It’s been a very frustrating thing for me as well.”

Reid has singled out Block Road and Loch Lomond roads in particular, calling them ‘terrible’.

“The problem with both of those roads is that they were built in a hurry,” notes Reid. “The pavement went down over a substandard base, right, so it’s been problems pretty well right from day one.”

Reid says the cost of upgrading the Codroy Valley roads, and Block Road and Loch Lomond Road in particular, is pretty significant. This past summer he had been hoping to see the Searston to St. Andrews Road portion completed, and stated that a contract had been awarded for part of it.

“The contract was a little late getting out because of the COVID stuff, but also the company that was doing it had some trouble getting people to crush the stone,” says Reid.

Reid had been trying to get an extension on that contract, and says he is disappointed that the work didn’t get done this year. He’s hoping to see it done early on in next year’s construction season.

In addition to Block and Loch Lomond, Reid is focused on getting repairs done to sections of road leading from Mountainside to Belanger Memorial School, and from Codroy to Woodville.

“A lot of people drive down to work in the fish plant, and the owner of the fish plant transports his fish up over that road too, and the road is getting pretty bad,” says Reid. “So those are the three sections of high traffic roads that I would like to see done.”

When it comes to the Block Road, Reid considers the repairs necessary not just for the residents but for the tourists who may wish to visit the new Coastangs Trail. The 5.5 km hike along scenic coastline is backed by the spectacular Long Range Mountains and has trailheads at Searston and St. Andrew’s. The moderate trek offers several lookout points, including those located at Barents Head, Nor’ West Cove and Larkin Point.

“If you’re going to promote that trail, you really have to have a road that’s drivable out there,” notes Reid.

He’s even reached out to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure to suggest they use millings from Bay St. George, which has had some roads repaved, to help deal with the Block Road. While it wouldn’t be perfect, it would still be an improvement and represent a lower cost alternative.

“Until the money is there I don’t want to guarantee that it’s going to be done,” says Reid.

The MHA promises that he will keep looking at other options to find available funds to make more extensive repairs. He believes that over and above the nuisance of driving on poor roads and the wear and tear on vehicles, the issue is also becoming one of safety.

“There hasn’t been a lot of road work done, so the problem is that these roads were allowed to deteriorate over the last 20 years to the point now where I think we’re in sort of a crisis situation.”

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure did not respond to inquiries prior to publication deadline.

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