Pothole-filled highways in Cape Breton to be fixed after coal road, says minister
Lloyd Hines says province will look for a permanent solution to potholes after coal road opens this summer
Nova Scotia's Transportation minister says relief may be coming this summer from heavy traffic causing potholes in Reserve Mines.
Lloyd Hines said the province plans to finish intersections this spring that will connect a new gravel road to provincial roads, providing a shortcut for coal trucks from the Donkin mine.
That will take some pressure off the pothole-filled highways, but the minister said the potholes themselves will take longer to fix.
The mine owners built a new coal road west from Brookside Street in Glace Bay to the Old Airport Road on Route 4.
Hines said some land near the provincial intersections was contaminated by hydrocarbons and needed to be cleaned up. As well, some utility poles still need to be moved.
"It kind of dragged out a little bit," Hines said. "We had Christmas and here we are at the end of January, so we're planning to have that done immediately in the spring."
The province said increased traffic through Reserve Mines and Glace Bay, including the coal trucks, has increased wear and tear on provincial road surfaces.
Hines said the government plans to make the coal road intersections a priority, but finding a permanent fix for the potholes will take more time.
"We're aware of the additional traffic that's there, so we'll be giving it some special attention," he said.
"In the meantime, we're cold-patching the potholes that are there. Once we get the intersections in place, then we'll take a look and see what we need to do."
George MacDonald, a Cape Breton Regional Municipality councillor, said provincial roads around Reserve Mines are getting punished by the coal trucks from the Donkin mine.
He said he's been flooded with calls from people whose cars have been damaged by potholes, and he said the province needs to open the coal road to divert traffic away from the community.
"I've been hearing more excuses," MacDonald said.
"At first, it was supposed to be with the poles and so on ... but now of course paving season is over, so once it gets close to this time of year, there's no paving, so that's what they blame it on now.
"It's already a road, but that's what they told me last year. Last year, it was supposed to be open for sure."
MacDonald said one of the provincial roads, Wilson Road, is slated for repaving once the coal road opens.
However, he said local drivers are frustrated with the lack of action on Grand Lake Road through Reserve Mines and Reserve Street into Glace Bay.
"When they call, they're upset, but they say, 'We realize George that it's going to be done after the coal road is open,' but that's been a two-year promise."
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