Crocodile cracking irks drivers on stretch of Highway 19, just months after $3.3M repaving job

Less than four months after Roxboro Excavation finished resurfacing a three-kilometre stretch of Highway 19, the road is already showing signs of deterioration, a Radio-Canada investigation has found.

Transports Québec inspections showed some 'deficiencies' related to 'riding in comfort'

A stretch of Highway 19 that was repaved less than six months ago is already showing signs of deterioration. (Marc Gosselin/Radio-Canada)

Less than four months after a $3.3 million repaving job was completed on a three-kilometre stretch of Highway 19, the road is already showing signs of deterioration, a Radio-Canada investigation has found.

"The grooves in the pavement on the southbound lane in the Concorde Boulevard area must be 20 feet," said Mark Byles, a resident of Rosemère, north of Laval, who uses Highway 19 every day to get to work in Montreal.

Julie Jeanson, who lives in Terrebonne and works in the Plateau-Mont-Royal neighbourhood, said she tries to avoid taking the left lane when driving south on Highway 19.

"Just a little rain or snow, and it becomes dangerous. The road is very rough," she said.

Construction company Roxboro Excavation was hired to remove 50 millimetres of asphalt from the stretch of highway that runs from Henri-Bourassa Boulevard in Montreal to Highway 440 in Laval, work that was carried out from August to October 2017.

The old surface was replaced with a new layer of asphalt. 

The ensuing closures and detours resulted in headaches for motorists.

A Radio-Canada reporter recorded the drive along Highway 19 on Feb. 14. (Credit: Radio-Canada)

Cracking, ruts, other signs of wear

A doctoral student in civil engineering at Concordia University, Soliman Abu Samra, found several defects in the pavement of Highway 19 after looking at photos of it. 

Some of these included crocodile cracking — a sign of wear of the asphalt shown by interconnecting cracks — poorly maintained expansion joints and ruts created by "extreme traffic on the highway," he said.

Another problem: furrows that run perpendicular to the road, causing a ripple felt by motorists.

"It's not safe, and it can lead to dangerous accidents, because the driver can lose control of his vehicle and not be able to brake at the right time," Samra said.

The three-kilometre stretch runs from Henri-Bourassa Boulevard in Montreal to Highway 440 in Laval. (Radio-Canada)

Ministry found 'deficiencies'

Inspections carried out by Transports Québec at the end of the roadwork, on Oct. 31 and Nov. 7, showed some "deficiencies" related to "riding in comfort."

However, the ministry told Radio-Canada it has "not received any complaints from citizens regarding riding in comfort in this sector," and that corrective work would be conducted in the spring, after the snow has melted.

Yesterday, Transports Québec launched a pothole operation on Highway 19 in both directions. 

Company fined for role in Highway 13 mess

This isn't the first time Roxboro Excavation has gotten bad press — in 2000, it was among five companies that admitted to conspiring to fix the price of Transports Québec snow-removal contracts.

The company was also slapped with a $3,000 fine after the debacle on Highway 13 last March, when 300 motorists were immobilized for 12 hours in a snow storm.
Highway 13 was brought to a standstill by a sudden snowstorm on March 14, 2017, leaving 300 motorists stranded overnight. (Simon-Marc Charron/Radio-Canada)

A report, conducted at the request of Premier Philippe Couillard, blamed the traffic jam on communications problems within the Transport Ministry and the Sûreté du Québec.

Roxboro Excavation was fined nonetheless, "for failure to have minimal resources and equipment during the snowstorm," said Sarah Bensadoun, spokesperson for Transports Québec.

With files from Radio-Canada