Marine Contractors has been awarded the contract and work has started on a section of the Hansen Highway that people have been asking to have upgraded for decades.
That’s the section from the intersection with Brook Street in Stephenville to Gull Pond where there is everything from ruts, potholes to waves in the road that are comparable to what’s known as “yes ma’ams” — a rut in the snow.
There are plenty of bumps near White’s Farm in Noel’s Pond and the section of the road running parallel to what’s known locally as Little Gull Pond.
Over the years it’s been said the bumpy ride to the Hillside Interfaith Cemetery could shake the dead awake and although there were no real reported cases of that, it hasn’t been a fun ride for the families and friends of the deceased.
Then there’s the recurring flooding in the community of Noel’s Pond where water has backed up in fields and gone across farm properties blocking off the road for days at a time, forcing traffic to use an alternate route into and out of Stephenville and the Port au Port Peninsula.
Everyone welcomes new pavement and a smoother ride but residents and landowners in Noel’s Pond wonder if this work is all for naught if the root of the flooding problem is not alleviated before new asphalt is put down.
MHA John Finn says mitigation work is being carried out before paving begins. Mayor Tom Rose said he has the backing of Mayor Debbie Brake-Patten in Kippens in asking for these measures to be carried out prior to paving.
Family farmer Don White says the banks need to be built up on the side of the brook at his farm and Rose concurs. Both say building up the bank is not just a measure to protect the farm but will alleviate flooding that could eventually destroy the road.
Another task will be to dredge under the bridge in Noel’s Pond, something that Finn says is part of the mitigation work that will be carried out.
When you look at it all, it seems everyone is on the same page when it comes to what needs to be done. However, the question is will the work be done or not?
Nobody local wants a recurring problem of flooding or to see the road cut off for days in Noel’s Pond. While there is a recognition global warming may bring worse storms, there is also the fact that there are some man-made problems in the Noel’s Pond valley where Warm Brook runs through it.
If man created the problems, then man can solve the problems. Now is the time to do it before that blacktop goes down.