As clocks tick down toward possible election calls in both Ottawa and St. John’s in the coming months, politicians of both levels of government were in Harbour Grace on Friday to announce money for roadwork in Conception Bay North.
For the council and residents of Harbour Grace, the money means further work can be completed on what has been a point of contention in the community for some years – the state of Harvey Street, which is part of Route 70 and is the main highway through the town.
Mayor Don Coombs said it has been a priority of council to see the lengthy street brought back to its former glory. The town has been tackling the job in phases, as money allows.
Liberal Member of Parliament for Avalon, Ken McDonald, as well as Harbour Grace – Port de Grave MHA Pam Parsons were on hand to announce money for the street and for a project that will see the residents of Spaniard’s Bay get a road addressed too.
Ottawa and the province committed to borrowing $1 million and $1.2 million respectively, while the towns of Spaniard’s Bay Harbour Grace will borrow a combined $729,000 to take on the projects.
In Harbour Grace, the money will go towards the replacement of water, sewer, and storm sewer mains and street upgrading on Harvey Street, which will provide potable water that is safe for drinking, and sanitary sewer disposal for 42 homes.
In Spaniard’s Bay, Pondside Road will see upgrades, which include new culverts, repaving and the installation of an asphalt tack coat. The upgrades will increase and improve road safety for drivers, the politicians said.
Earlier this year, phase four of the Harvey Street project got underway. Following this new funding announcement, Coombs said he hopes that they will be able to get started with phase five a lot sooner than anticipated.
If the Town is able to go to tender with the work now, work on phase five could start in the spring of 2021. And if all goes according to plan, Harvey Street’s long-awaited roadwork will be done by the end of that season.
“I said, when I got elected three years ago, that we had to get Harvey Street finished. Now, it looks like it’s going to happen before my term in office is up. That’s great,” Coombs said.
Coombs said the state of the road was impacting the businesses on it as some motorists actively refused to drive over the cracked, split, and sometimes entirely absent asphalt.
The work will start at Lee’s Lane, where phase four came to an end, and will lead up to Jamie’s Way – another provincial road.
“It’s a dangerous, dangerous road,” Coombs said of the current state of the street. “We’d be better off having no pavement than what we’ve got now, so I’m glad the ministers of the day have recognized that.”
Once the work is done, Coombs is hopeful it will mark the start of a new chapter for Harbour Grace, and allow council to focus more of its attention on other aspects of the town that need fixing.
Coombs said that there are a number of connector roads between Harvey Street and Water Street – the latter of which has become the go-to circuit for drivers aiming to avoid Harvey Street – that need attention.
“The streets joining Harvey Street and Water Street are old systems, and I would think that may be among the priorities that council may take on in our next priority list, or five-year plan,” said the mayor. “But, that’s still up to council, so we’ll see what everyone has to say moving forward.”