There’s no doubt that the roads of Corner Brook have taken a beating this winter and Mayor Charles Pender is hopeful that today’s provincial budget will provide more information on how much money the city will get for capital works projects like road improvements.
In a pre-budget announcement on March 11, Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Kent announced a three-year, $200-million municipal infrastructure program.
While Pender is confident the city will get sufficient funds, he said Tuesday that “we still don’t know what our cut of that is.” He said the key for municipalities is to know these things ahead of time.
“We should know in January how much money is available so we can get these things planned and get working on them.
“We need to know that so we can get to tender as quickly as possible.”
In the meantime, Pender said the city will continue to maintain the roads and the many potholes until the weather gets better and they can be fixed.
“It’s a normal routine this time of year for any North American city,” he said. “We freeze and thaw all the time and roads will develop potholes. And the unfortunate thing is they happen overnight.
“You could drive over a road that could be perfect one day and the next day there’s a pothole that can turn into a major crater in some cases.”
The mayor said there are some areas that are bigger problems than others, like West Street.
“And probably we’re going to end up having to mill some of that pavement and recap or repave a fair section that road. It just looks like the whole area has deteriorated beyond a repair or a patch.”
He said O’Connell Drive and the area at the bottom of Park Drive will also need some work as a result of water breaks in those areas this winter.
“They occur in the middle of winter and there’s just absolutely nothing we can do to repair them other than fill them with gravel and keep them filled and graded as best we can.”
He said the plan would be as soon as the spring breaks to try to get at those and get them patched, but that will depend on the availability of asphalt and a contractor.
Pender also said people have to realize that areas like Murphy Square and the road connecting the Lewin Parkway to Herald Avenue do not belong to the city and repairs there are not the responsibility of the city.
As for the Lewin Parkway, which falls under provincial jurisdiction, he noted the province let a contract for road improvements in the area of the mill last year, but the work was not able to be carried out before the winter.