Although much depends on how the Covid-19 quarantine affects the construction season, Topsail-Paradise MHA Paul Dinn said he remains hopeful maintenance work will proceed this spring or summer on Route 60.
The worst part of the road in Dinn’s district is the area running from Marie’s Mini Mart on Topsail Hill to Topsail Beach Road, including the intersection with Frog Pond Road.
“I’ve been harping on the minister (Transportation and Works Minister Steve Crocker) about the roadwork in my district – that section of Topsail on Route 60 – and he said in the House when I asked him, and it has gone on record, that he would be looking into it for the coming season,” said Dinn. “But that being said, this Covid throws a big fly in the ointment here when it comes to getting road work done.”
The MHA said he has communicated with the minister several times since the House closed last month, including as recently as Monday, about the need to get potholes and other maintenance matters addressed.
“You know the ones (potholes) there by Frog Pond Road and Marie’s Mini Mart, they’re just huge,” said Dinn. “When you come up there in the evenings there is no light on them and they’re sort of hidden and if you didn’t know they were there you could get lost in them. I’ve actually sent him pictures of those.”
Dinn said he also drew diagrams for the minister showing sections of the road that need to be done. “That section coming down Topsail Hill (Between Marie’s and Topsail Beach Road), come this spring there will be no shoulders on the road, half of them will be washed away,” Dinn noted.
The minister did e-mail back, said Dinn, explaining the department’s staff is very limited. Because of social distancing practices, only one person can be in a vehicle at a time. That means repair crews can’t ride together in the same truck to get to a job. “As you can appreciate, that takes longer,” said Dinn. “They have less people going to more sites, so that’s going to put a bit of a drag on it.”
Dinn said Crocker is pretty good at responding to e-mail and personal requests. “I’m still hopeful that there’s going to be roadwork done,” he added. “There hasn’t been anything to indicate not. But they have indicated that given the precautions they’re taking around Covid, the number of staff that go to maintain the roads are very limited… It’s unfortunate, but it’s something that’s got to be done.”
Dinn said during March most of his constituency calls related to the Covid-19 situation. “But now I’m starting to see more arise on the everyday stuff, not hugely yet, but roads being one of them,” he said. “The Route 60 section there in Topsail needs curb and gutter. But I’ve been on him for the last three or four months about getting that done and he’s been open to that. But again, times have changed drastically in the last few weeks. I’m going to keep harping on it anyway to try to get something done there, because it becomes a danger too and the world just can’t just stop. You’ve still got to do some maintenance work and do what you can… He was very quick to respond (today) and he reiterated that they’re trying to get to the potholes, trying to get to the road repairs as quickly as they can, but again the Covid situation has limited their staffing and resources. So, they are working on it and I’m just hopeful that it will all get done.”