ATV riders tell Nalcor to leave access road bridges alone

No decision has been made yet but ATV riders want to make their opposition known before it's too late.

Nalcor says no decision made yet about dismantling bridges along Labrador-island transmission link

ATV riders are putting their names on a petition asking Nalcor not to remove bridges, like this one, and culverts installed on access roads during construction of the Labrador-island transmission link. (Ryan Hodder)

All-terrain vehicle users in Newfoundland have a message for Nalcor: leave the bridges alone.

ATV rider Mike Power is collecting signatures — 2,400 so far, from several ATV rider associations across the island — on a petition asking Nalcor not to remove bridges and culverts put in place for access roads during construction of the Labrador-island transmission link.

To take up the bridges, dismantle the bridges, [is] certainly going to create more hazards for people coming in there.- Mike Power

"Those bridges are basically located right across the province on the transmission lines," Power told CBC News. 

"They've opened up a new world to ATV users, and they also have created a fair amount of activity, the likes of tourism in the area too, that are using these transmission lines."

Riders are worried that with the completion of the link, the Crown corporation will dismantle the bridges and culverts rather than maintain them, said Power.

No decision made yet

"To take up the bridges, dismantle the bridges, [is] certainly going to create more hazards for people coming in there. It doesn't fix the problem," he said. "What happens, all-terrain vehicles users will bypass the rivers and go through the marshes and trees and cross the rivers another way. So it's not going to solve the problem."

But Nalcor's communications manager said there hasn't been any decision made yet on the bridges.

"At this time, Nalcor has not put any road restrictions in place on access roads built for the Labrador-Island Transmission Link (LIL) or removed any bridges or culverts in central NL," wrote Karen O'Neill in a statement to CBC News.

"Over the next couple of years, Nalcor will conduct an assessment of access required to operate and maintain the system and will engage with the provincial regulator. A plan will be put in place that will outline if any additional road decommissioning will be implemented for LIL."

Some ATV users say the bridges have 'opened up a new world' and should stay put. (Glen Savoury)

Power said he realizes a decision hasn't been made yet, but ATV groups wanted to be proactive in taking their message to Nalcor.

"If we sit back and not let Nalcor and the government know there's a fair amount of opposition to taking down those bridges and dismantling those bridges, [that's] the reactive approach, the bridges are being dismantled and it's too late."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador