Be patient as crews finish up road work before winter, says transportation minister

Steve Crocker says he understands people's frustration with traffic delays on the northeast Avalon, but that slowdowns are mostly unavoidable.

Steve Crocker admits more co-ordination with cities and towns needed

Construction crews work on the Outer Ring Road in St. John's. The province's Transportation department says this fall has allowed crews to work later than usual, and asks drivers to be patient as they finish up. (CBC)

Newfoundland and Labrador's minister of Transportation and Works says he understands drivers' frustration with traffic delays on the northeast Avalon, but slowdowns are unavoidable as the department scrambles to finish up road repairs before the snow comes.

Steve Crocker told CBC's On The Go he's aware of complaints about slowdowns lately on major routes around St. John's, which are causing corresponding traffic problems on city streets, such as on Kenmount Road.

Steve Crocker, Newfoundland and Labrador transportation minister, says there is always room for more coordination with municipalities when it comes to road work and traffic issues. (Paula Gale/CBC)

He said while there is always room for improvement when it comes to planning, such as notifying drivers that construction is happening, the construction work is essential. 

"There's a lot of work that needs to get done, but we have a very short construction season in this province and it's important we get this work done," Crocker said. "Any time we're doing road construction in high volume areas there's always going to be challenges with traffic."

Traffic patterns considered

Crocker said when road work is being planned, rush hour traffic is taken into consideration, as demonstrated by this year's nighttime work pilot project. A report on the effectiveness of the nighttime project is expected sometime in early 2018, at which time the province will determine if similar work will happen again in the future.

Nighttime paving, like that seen in this file photo, took place on a stretch of the TCH near St. John's this summer as part of a provincial government pilot project. A report on its effectiveness is expected early next year. (WIkipedia Commons)

Co-ordination with the City of St. John's and other municipalities could be improved, Crocker admitted, and he said staff from the province and the city will be sitting down over the winter to discuss how they can better work together to lessen traffic headaches.

In the meantime though, he wants drivers to be patient and let traffic crews get the necessary work done before the snow starting falling.

"It's important that motorists use as much caution as possible and realize that this work will be done in a short amount of time and that it's in the interest of everyone's safety," he said.,

With files from On The Go