While highway road crews were out recently busily patching potholes on Highway 3 in Woods Harbour, Argyle Barrington MLA Chris d’Entremont was grilling Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (TIR) Minister Lloyd Hines in the legislature about road maintenance, grading and culverts.
D’Entremont was left hanging on his second question, however, when the transportation minister was cut off in mid-sentence because question period was over.
“The bridges, I tell you, Mr. Speaker – we've had a problem with beavers and the beavers continue to block up all of the culverts and I wanted to know, and maybe this is a discussion between you and the Minister of Lands and Forestry, who's responsible for this?” said d’Entremont during question period on April 9. “Who's the one that's supposed to clear these culverts out so that water will flow, and things won't flood? My second question to the minister: Who's responsible for beavers?” While Hines started to reply, the question remained unanswered.
Meanwhile, back to road conditions, Marla MacInnis, media relations advisor for TIR, said this year “was a fairly average year in terms of potholes; however, over the past few weeks roads across Nova Scotia we have seen an increase in the number of potholes because of the dramatic temperature fluctuations and water on the road.
“Unlike other parts of Canada, Nova Scotia gets warm air from the Carolinas and freezing air from the Arctic, which causes a lot of unique freeze-thaw cycles,” she said. “This impacts our roads a great deal in the winter, causing potholes and other distress to the asphalt.”
MacInnis said during winter months TIR patrols roads daily and completes cold-mix repairs regularly in order to improve road conditions for motorists. Cold mix is a temporary patch used until longer-lasting hot-mix asphalt becomes available when asphalt plants open later in the spring.
As for gravel road grading, that “begins once the frost ends for the season and the roads can support the weight of graders,” said MacInnis.
Road construction season for roadways covered by the province typically begins at the beginning of May, said MacInnis, although some work can take place earlier.
“Aside from the work noted in our five-year Highway Improvement Plan, we will be doing regular maintenance and work under the Rural Impact Mitigation program. This program aims at making improvements to roads in rural areas through pavement patching, shouldering, brush cutting and gravelling,” she said.
Potholes can be reported by calling 1-844-696-7737. It’s not known if beavers can also be reported to that number.