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Longtime user of mid-island route is all for its development

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While Coun. Richard Blagdon of the Burgeo town council doesn’t personally support the mid-island route, town resident Dave MacDonald is all for it.

Coun. Richard Blagdon said the route is scenic to him, “but that’s all you got.”

MacDonald believes the route has a whole lot more, especially in time and distance savings for residents of Burgeo.

He said he’s been using the route since the 1980’s and has travelled it more than 100 times in that period and was pleased to see some recent upgrades to it and bridges replaced.

MacDonald believes in addition to it being a good access road to central Newfoundland, it’s also a great emergency route should something happen, like a bridge becoming unusable on the Trans-Canada Highway.

He said the route only has two bridges, at Portage Lake and Otter Pond Brook, so the chances of washouts are less.

As an example, MacDonald said if for some reason the bridge at Birchy Narrows on the Trans-Canada Highway were to fail and traffic was cut off from west to east and vice versa, the mid-island route would be a great alternative while repairs were being made.

Blagdon said there’s only about 40 km of savings when you take the mid-island route; however, MacDonald said from Burgeo there’s a lot more savings than that.

He said going the regular Trans-Canada Highway route the distance between Burgeo and Port aux Basques is the same as the distance between Burgeo and Badger (250 km) through the Buchans route on the northern side of Red Indian Lake.

“I’ve left Burgeo in the morning for noon hour meetings in Grand Falls-Windsor and made it in time, then returned to Burgeo at supper time after the meeting taking the mid-island route. There’s no way you would do that the other way,” he said.

MacDonald said people leaving from Stephenville or other locations wouldn’t find the same savings but they would save some time taking the route.

Blagdon said a disadvantage is that you lose cell service along the route and MacDonald admitted there is a loss of cell service on different spots along the road but he said that wouldn’t prevent him from using it.

In addition to summer time driving on that road, he said he’s used it in the fall on his side-by-side and in the winter on his snowmobile as he likes to visit the area and look at the wildlife and scenery.

“We’re in support of the mid-island route as long as the money spent is from the resource road budget only,” Deputy Mayor Mike Tobin said on Monday.

MacDonald echoed those words, saying that Burgeo Highway itself is the top priority but if it’s money that wouldn’t go into the highway anyway, he’d like to see the mid-island route improvements continue.

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