New Brunswick

Rural family not happy province stopped plowing road after 50 years

A family who lives in rural New Brunswick can't understand why the province has suddenly stopped plowing the road that runs by their property.

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure told the family it's unsafe to continue plowing road

The Larlee family in Juvenile Settlement say the road to their home has been abandoned by plow trucks this winter. The Department of Transportation and Infastructure says even though the province owns the road, they're not maintaining it because it's unsafe for their plows. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

A family who lives in rural New Brunswick can't understand why the provincial government has suddenly stopped plowing the road that runs by their property. 

The Larlees of Juvenile Settlement, a small community halfway between Saint John and Fredericton, say that after 50 years the trucks have stopped coming to clear the snow from the road the province owns.   

"It's kind of scary because if we get any more snowfall, we're going to lose access to emergency services," said Adam Larlee.

'We're going to lose access to emergency services'

4 years ago
Duration 0:46
This rural New Brunswick family doesn’t understand why the province stopped plowing their road.

Wooden fences line both sides on the way to barns that are alive with the sounds of goats and chickens. It's a pleasant winter scene, but the public road that leads here is anything but. 

Abandoned by provincial plows, the snow and ice has piled up. That's made the 200 metres of slippery ruts treacherous. 

"Our kids have to go down to the mailbox to get picked up by a van that takes them to the school bus," said Larlee. "And our daughter has already slipped on this road and hurt herself." 

Adam Larlee says the province has refused to plow the roadway leading to his driveway and he's worried about losing access to emergency services. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

The roadway is the only way in and out of the Larlee property. They are the only family affected by the absence of plows. 

"It's just not safe," Larlee said. 

His wife, Alexandria, said it would take hours to clear the roadway themselves, but it would require little extra effort if the plows returned. 

"It takes less than five minutes for them to come up and do it," said Alexandria Larlee, adding the family keeps the area where plows turn around clear of farm equipment and gear. 

Alexandria Larlee says it would take hours if the family worked to clear the road, but the province owns it and when they clear it the process takes about five minutes. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

But the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure claims it's unsafe to continue plowing the road. 

In an email from district engineer Kevin Richard sent to Adam Larlee — and shown to CBC News by Larlee — the district states: " … we are unable to continue plowing the driveway unless you can provide an area that we can safely turn around.

Last year trucks were not able to turn around in your yard and as such were forced to back out resulting in multiple of incidents where trucks fell off the drive way and needed to be towed out." 

The Larlee family disputes that anything has changed with the roadway or their property, and they say the province has kept the road clear for the last five decades. 

Local MLA Jeff Carr says he's working with his PC government to restore plow service this season for the Larlee family, but he says a long-term solution will need to be worked out for the years to come. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

Local MLA Jeff Carr previously argued, successfully, for the Larlee family to continue to have their road plowed by the province when he was the transportation and infrastructure critic when the Liberals considered also removing the plows. 

Now, Carr said the Tories will reconsider the plow removal. 

"That's my attempt," said Carr. "That's my goal, is to have him serviced by DTI for the rest of this year." 

Carr said after this year there will need to be a long-term solution for the situation between the family and the province.


Shane Fowler


Shane Fowler has been a CBC journalist based in Fredericton since 2013.


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