Nova Scotia

Driver blasts condition of Cape Breton detour road

A Cape Breton woman says a detour road being used as a replacement after a bridge washed out is in deplorable condition.

'It's deep holes, where, if some people can't miss a hole, you don't know how far down you're going to go'

The West Side Middle River Road has been used as a detour since the Gold Brook Bridge on the Cabot Trail washed out in late November. (Hilda Murphy-Phillips)

A Cape Breton woman says a detour road being used as a replacement after a bridge washed out is in deplorable condition.

"It's more than just potholes," said Martha Ross. "It's deep holes, where, if some people can't miss a hole, you don't know how far down you're going to go. So, you know there's going to be a flat tire and a broken axle and who knows what else … a bad accident."

Ross lives in Sydney Mines, N.S., but is from the Margaree Valley and travels to that area frequently to visit family and friends.

The Gold Brook Bridge on the Cabot Trail in Middle River, between Baddeck and Margaree, washed out during a heavy rain and wind storm that swept through Nova Scotia last November.

Drivers have been forced to use the West Side Middle River Road as a detour ever since.

Martha Ross is pushing to get road and bridge work done in the greater Middle River and Margaree, N.S., areas. (Submitted by Martha Ross)

Ross said she's been pushing local Progressive Conservative MLAs Allan MacMaster and Keith Bain for answers on when the bridge will be replaced and the detour road fixed.

"They're waiting for spring," she said. "Well, spring arrived on Sunday and so I'm hammering on that now. I'm kind but I have to be pushy. You have to be. I've done it all the other ways, too. Begging and everything. Sometimes you just need to push."

Steve MacDonald, an area manager with Nova Scotia Public Works, said he's all too familiar with the West Side Middle River Road, adding that crews patched it in late December and early January before winter really set in.

"With the traffic volumes, it's been challenging to keep up a good condition of the driving surface on that road," he said.

MacDonald said there's a plan to install a temporary bridge downstream from where the Gold Brook Bridge was, adding that wouldn't be in place any earlier than late spring or early summer. He said a permanent bridge will be built later.

He said work in and near Middle River can't start any earlier than June 1 due to environmental regulations around fish movement, although other preliminary work such as building approaches to where the bridge will cross can begin earlier.

'Accelerated schedule' for bridge work

"I know that we'll be pushing for an accelerated schedule on [the bridge] for sure to try to get the traffic back onto the Cabot Trail and away from the West Side Middle River Road," said MacDonald.

He said that because it will take some time to get the temporary bridge in place, the plan is to get the West Side Middle River Road repaved as soon as possible, adding the work could involve as much as eight kilometres of repaving.

Ross said she will keep pushing until the work is done.

"I just feel they're not doing enough," she said. "I'm talking about all parties over the years — neglect, neglect."

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