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Road conditions hard to take in parts of Shelburne County

Last week the Upper Clyde Road in Shelburne County was inaccessible to most vehicles. There are roads like this throughout the region at this time of the year.
Last week the Upper Clyde Road in Shelburne County was inaccessible to most vehicles. There are roads like this throughout the region at this time of the year.

SHELBURNE, N.S. – Heavy snowfalls followed by quick thaws have left some unpaved roads in Shelburne County impassible for most vehicles, including emergency services, and the troubles likely aren't over yet, even with colder conditions these past couple of days.

Ronnie Newell was driving his four-wheel-drive pickup truck home on the Upper Clyde Road near Shelburne when his truck got caught in the mud one day last week.

He attempted to get unstuck but the mud from the road was so thick it left almost half of his tires buried.

He walked the seven-kilometre trek the rest of the way home and didn’t arrive to his house until two hours later.

“It’s lucky I was able to do that,” he said.  “Not everyone is able to (have mobility).”

He said he took his four-wheeler back to his truck and noticed his was not the only vehicle stuck. There were several trucks stuck on the road.

“It’s not good,” said Newell.  “They are full-time residents here that pay their taxes.”

Ronnie Newell was driving his four-wheel-drive pickup truck home on the Upper Clyde Road near Shelburne when his truck got caught in the mud one day last week.

He attempted to get unstuck but the mud from the road was so thick it left almost half of his tires buried.

He walked the seven-kilometre trek the rest of the way home and didn’t arrive to his house until two hours later.

“It’s lucky I was able to do that,” he said.  “Not everyone is able to (have mobility).”

He said he took his four-wheeler back to his truck and noticed his was not the only vehicle stuck. There were several trucks stuck on the road.

“It’s not good,” said Newell.  “They are full-time residents here that pay their taxes.”

He said there are about 50 residents who live on the road, including many seniors. Newell is worried someone will need medical or fire attention and responders won’t be able to reach them.

“We are still human,” he said.  “We still can get hurt.”

The Town of Shelburne’s fire chief, Darrel Locke, said fire trucks will not be able to get down the road until it hardens up.

Other dirt roads in Shelburne County pose a similar hazard, including East Sable Road, Rockland Road and Lake John Road.

“It’s a nightmare,” said Newell.  “We are completely cut off…there is no response time.”

He said the road was so bad that a side-by-side could not make it through the deeply rutted road.

Hard to get anywhere on roads like this.

Another resident on the Upper Clyde Road, Sandie Stoddard, had just returned from a trip down south when she ran into trouble.

“I didn’t know what the road was like,” she said.  “My truck hit so hard in a rut that it jolted my computer and shut my truck down.  It’s the worst I’ve ever seen it.”

Worried about getting to work, Stoddard has been bunking at different people’s houses in town.

Catherine DeLorey teaches drivers education and wants to see warning signs put up so people know not to travel the roads in these conditions. She and her student driver Madison Lyle were driving when they got stuck on the Upper Clyde Road.

“We are expected to teach students secondary roads and conditions,” she said.  But her student learned more than he bargained for when they were stuck for two hours waiting to be rescued.

A tow-truck driver was called but the tow company refused to travel the road.  In the end it was a jeep with tow equipment that pulled them out of the muck.

The province is responsible for these roads within the Municipality of Shelburne.

“This time of year does present challenges for many gravel roads, especially when the weather swings from large snowfalls to very mild temperatures,” said Brian Taylor, a representative with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.  “The recent thaw has softened many of our roads to the point where weight restrictions were placed on them to help protect their integrity.”

He said they can’t bring in any heavy equipment to fix the roads until they get harder.

“Crews will continue to work on localized issues, weather dependent, but in the end, it will take some time for the roads to harden enough to properly repair them,” said Taylor.

“If the (transportation department) can’t fix it until after the spring thaw, why are there no warning signs stating that this road isn’t usable?” DeLorey asked.

 

 

WHAT THE PROVINCE SAYS ABOUT SPRING WEIGHT RESTRICTIONS:

Weight restrictions are currently in place on all provincial gravel roads due to mild weather and thawing.

Trucks travelling on gravel roads will be permitted to a maximum of 6,500 kilograms for a single axle, and 12,000 kilograms for a tandem triaxle and 18,000 kilograms on tridem or tridem-equivalent axle.

Lower than normal temperatures forecasted this past weekend allowed a partial lifting of weight restrictions on gravel roads in all counties. Starting Sunday, March 5 at 6 a.m. until Monday, March 6 at 12:01 a.m.

As for the spring weight restrictions that came into effect for provincial roads in nine Nova Scotia counties beginning 12:01 a.m., Monday, March 6, they apply to:  Annapolis, Digby, Halifax, Hants, Kings, Lunenburg, Queens, Shelburne and Yarmouth.

Weight restrictions on heavy vehicles are necessary during the spring thaw to protect roads that are weakened by mild and wet weather. They are expected to be in place for about two months.

The department will continue to monitor road and weather conditions to determine when it is safe to remove the restrictions.

 

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