New Brunswick

No place to drive: Keswick Ridge residents call for Route 616 pothole repairs

People in Keswick Ridge are frustrated to be back in a familiar place dealing with deplorable road conditions.

'If you don't lose a strut, if you don't lose a sway bar — you didn't drive on the roads'

Route 616 in Keswick Ridge was repaired last summer and now it's covered with potholes, creating dangerous driving conditions for residents. (Gary Moore/CBC)

A popular Keswick Ridge road that residents rely on, is once again riddled with potholes — leaving people frustrated with the deplorable road conditions.

Residents in the area gathered at a town hall meeting on Thursday night to express their concerns over the latest pothole blitz. 

The one-kilometre stretch of Route 616 was rebuilt eight months ago, which was overseen by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. Before that, the road was cracked and broken with potholes emerging.

But the latest repairs weren't able to survive New Brunswick's first blast of winter — leaving the stretch of road "rutted and potholed" over the past several months.

Now that temperatures are starting to warm up, residents like Wanda Rettinger are frustrated by the latest road conditions. 

"Everybody was excited, we were all hopeful that we were going to get some decent road, and it was such a disappointment in just a few short months," she said at Thursday's town hall meeting.

Rettinger, who has been living in the area for 30 years, said the potholes along Route 616 are so bad, they dictate whether she leaves the house.

"If you don't lose a strut, if you don't lose a sway bar — you didn't drive on the roads."

Wanda Rettinger has lived in Keswick Ridge for 30 years and avoids any travel on Route 616. (Gary Moore/CBC)

Desmond Tranquilla, a civil engineer who works on infrastructure projects across the country, gave a presentation to the 60 people who attended the town hall.

Tranquilla, who lives in the area, spoke to people in the room about road work and infrastructure planning. He also expressed his concern with the shape of the road.

"When the infrastructure is degraded this far, people really are putting themselves at risk crossing the yellow line."

Desmond Tranquilla is a civil engineer who lives in the area. He gave a presentation about road conditions along Route 616, to the 60 people who attended the meeting. (Gary Moore/CBC)

Tranquilla never put the blame on anyone in particular and wouldn't make any comments about where the repair work went wrong. But he said chipseal wasn't the best solution for the rural road.

"Things are tight in the province and they're trying to do more with less," he said.

Safety a top priority 

After the presentation, Rettinger said she felt encouraged by the momentum in the community.

She's hopeful government rights a wrong before there's a serious accident along the stretch of road.

"The shoulders are gone. There's no place to drive and you're going around potholes," she said. "The safest place is in the middle of the road until you meet another vehicle."

Route 616 residents call for pothole repairs

3 years ago
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People in Keswick Ridge are frustrated to be back in a familiar place dealing with deplorable road conditions. 1:24

In 2017, the road came in ninth place in CAA Atlantic's top 10 worst roads in Atlantic Canada, a drop from fifth place in 2015.

Meanwhile, Progressive Conservative MLA Carl Urquhart, who's responsible for the area, attended Thursday night's meeting.

Urquhart said he's having a hard time getting information about road repairs that were done last year. But he was told by the province, the road will be repaired by the same contractor who did the work last year. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gary Moore

CBC News

Gary Moore is a video journalist based in Fredericton.

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