Truckers threaten to shut down TCH

Truckers are threatening to shut down work on the Trans-Canada Highway near Moncton. They're in a battle with highway builder, Maritime Road Development Corporation.

Three dozen truckers pulled up their trucks at the crossroad near Havelock Thursday.

Doug McDavid speaks for the independent truckers. They haul gravel for the Trans-Canada Highway. McDavid says the government rate for gravel hauling was set ten years ago at $2.08 a tonne. He says the subcontractor is paying less than half that, at $1.00.

"At a dollar a tonne, if you're hauling 33-tonnes, it takes you an hour to get a load off a truck. You've just made $33 to run a truck and a trailer for an hour. If you're paying a driver $10.00, your fuel is probably costing you ten dollars. You've got ten bucks left."

He says that's not enough to cover expenses. But when the truckers approached the contractors they were told the price was set by the Maritime Road Development Corporation.

"When we go to the contractors for more money, they say we can't give you more money. That's the rate. That's the set rate. That's what MRDC is paying and that's it. "

The truckers say if MRDC is going to be inflexible then so can they.

"We're not putting no more gravel down on any of these roads, and if we're not putting no gravel down, they're no getting no roads built."

The biggest problem the truckers have is finding someone who will listen. The province says it's MRDC's problem. MRDC says it's a subcontractor's problem. But the truckers say it's going to be everybody's problem if the Trans-Canada Highway construction hits a dead end.