Nova Scotia

'Somebody is going to get hurt': Ruts on Cape Breton highway hazardous to drivers

A 21-year-old man from Dutch Brook was driving along Highway 125 between Grand Lake Road and Mira Road when his vehicle got stuck in ruts in the asphalt and he hydroplaned. His truck flipped three times.

'If you drive it in heavy rain you can actually see the rivers of water running down'

Mckaleb Ferguson's truck was totalled when he got stuck in ruts on Highway 125 between Mira Road and Grand Lake Road in Sydney. (Emily Latimer/CBC)

Mckaleb Ferguson was driving along Cape Breton's Highway 125 between Mira Road and Grand Lake Road one morning when his vehicle got stuck in ruts in the asphalt.

His red Ford Ranger truck hydroplaned and rolled three times.

The 21-year-old man from Dutch Brook was driving to work around 5:50 a.m. last Friday in the heavy rain when he lost control of the vehicle.

He was travelling approximately 85 to 90 km/h, according to a police report. He was not injured.

Paul Ferguson, Mckaleb's father, said that his son was lucky to get out of the vehicle alive. 

Paul Ferguson says his son was travelling under the speed limit in heavy rain. He posted photos of the truck to social media to raise awareness about the ruts in the asphalt. (Emily Latimer/CBC)

"A lot of people say that they don't know how he got out of it," Ferguson said. 

Ferguson posted on social media to warn others about the ruts along the highway.

"Everybody I talk to hit the same rut, but they seem to come out of it," Ferguson said. "But somebody is going to get hurt."

Ferguson said his son was going 20 km/h below the speed limit. 

He thinks the asphalt is not being properly laid and he hopes the roads will be fixed soon. 

"Hopefully, someone else doesn't hit the same rut and hydroplane like he did," Ferguson said.  

The ruts are approximately a car-width apart and a several centimetres deep. When water pools in the ruts, vehicles tend to hydroplane, according to Fire Chief Brent Boyle. (Emily Latimer/CBC)

Concern for fire chief

This isn't the first time there have been complaints about ruts in the asphalt. In 2015, CBC reported that volunteer fire chiefs blamed the number of accidents along the highway on the ruts.

Brent Boyle, fire chief of Mira Road volunteer fire department, estimates the Mira Road fire department has responded to up to 15 calls per year about hydroplaning vehicles along Highway 125. 

'All the volunteer chiefs and chiefs have expressed concern over this right over from Bras d’Or right through to Grand Lake Road,' says Brent Boyle, fire chief of Mira Road volunteer fire department. (Emily Latimer/CBC)

"If you drive it in heavy rain you can actually see the rivers of water running down the 125," Boyle said.  

Boyle said he recalls responding to about six accidents in the last three months related to hydroplaning on that road.

"All the volunteer chiefs and chiefs have expressed concern over this right over from Bras d'Or right through to Grand Lake Road."

Boyle said drivers of the emergency vehicle hydroplaned while responding to the call. 

"Our drivers could basically feel the same thing, the vehicles hydroplaning," he said. "Our trucks are heavy, but you can still feel them. You have to be very careful."

In a police report, the officer who responded to the incident wrote: "As I was next to the truck, the rain water was flowing down the ruts that are in the roadway."

Province 'aware of ruts'

In an emailed statement, Marla MacInnis, spokesperson for the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, wrote: "We are aware of ruts on Highway 125. A tender recently closed that includes repaving between Grand Lake Road and Mira Road. The ruts in this area will be addressed through that work." 

Highway 125 between Mira Road and Grand Lake Road. (Emily Latimer/CBC)

The road connects the Trans-Canada Highway at North Sydney to Grand Lake Road in Sydney, with exits to communities along the way.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now