FALMOUTH, N.S. — A long-time Bog Road resident is speaking out after watching the stretch of road connecting Falmouth to Hantsport deteriorate to the point where he fears someone is going to get hurt.
Joe Britten, who built his family home on Bog Road nearly 25 years ago, recently wrote a letter to Hants West MLA Chuck Porter explaining the “deplorable condition” of the Bog Road.
When asked why he is concerned, Britten said the situation is not improving.
“Repairs have been haphazard and it's just been getting progressively worse,” said Britten while sitting on a stool in his kitchen.
Britten raised his concerns to the MLA because he's worried someone is going to get hurt unless the government acts to get necessary roadwork done.
“My fear is that somebody is going to get hurt, if not killed, trying to avoid damaging their car,” said Britten.
One trouble area is a dip in the road located about two kilometres in from Highway 1 (near the gravel pit). Located on a turn, Britten refers to it as a sinkhole that continually requires repair.
“That hole, I'd say at least five or six times, they've gone in there, dumped asphalt in, steamrolled it down, left it crowned and then walked away. It's not like the highway department doesn't know there is a problem there. I dare say anybody that has driven this road knows,” said Britten.
He's witnessed motorists trying to avoid the depression in the road.
“Out near the sharp turn, there are two turns in close succession before you get to the sharp turn and there is no real good place to drive, anywhere, where you are going to avoid an inordinate amount of abuse on your vehicle,” he said. “Typically, people tend to take the centre path through there. You're straddling the yellow line on two curves.”
And that, he says, is an accident waiting to happen.
“I have, on numerous occasions, driven behind motorists that use both sides of the roadway to find the least damaging path,” he explained in his letter. “The road is generally unfit and it is required of motorists to utilize both sides of the roadway to avoid inordinate assault on their vehicle's suspension — an inherently unsafe practice.”
While there are numerous potholes located along the road, he said there are a few spots that are in dire need of TLC. The first being the aforementioned sinkhole, the second being the road near the one-way bridge crossing the Halfway River.
While he would like to see the entire road resurfaced — it hasn't been done in the 25 years he's lived there — he says he'd be happy to see some of the worst areas addressed this spring.
Britten says he's seen the government invest in local roadwork that, he feels, wasn't necessary.
“Paving the shoulders over in Falmouth to make cycling lanes when this road isn't fit for vehicles rather rankles me,” said Britten, adding that the funds used for the project could have gone towards repairing Bog Road. The money spent changing the Ben Jackson Road Highway 101 interchange also could have been better spent.
“They could've paved this from one end to the other if they had have used some of the money they spent on the Ben Jackson intersection here,” he said, noting the government installed an overpass, then lights, then a roundabout.
What’s being done
Porter was unavailable for comment as of press time, but said in a brief phone message that the pothole situation was being addressed. His office also replied to Britten's letter. They forwarded on a response from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. Hal Lavers, the operations supervisor for TIR Hants West, said the department is working hard to address road conditions across the entire province as there are more than 23,000 kilometres of roads in Nova Scotia.
“Locally, our crew is working hard to address road conditions across our area of Hants West. In the meantime, local staff will continue to closely monitor the condition of the Bog Road, ensuring that the roadway is maintained in the best possible conditions, given available resources,” Lavers wrote.
While some fill had been delivered since he first raised the issue, it hasn’t solved the problem. Britten said if the Bog Road situation isn't addressed soon, he will meet with other people living in the area to see if they would like to put their name to the next letter he writes.
“If one person is standing on the road screaming, that's one thing. If everyone on the road is saying something, then maybe they'll be an impetus to do something,” he said.