No paving on island again this year, says ministry

  • Feb. 17, 2010 7:00 a.m.

Despite the deteriorating condition of Highway 16, there will be no paving on the islands again this year. According to the Ministry of Transportation Highway 16 is not a priority in 2010. “We have no plans to pave on the islands this year,” said Randy Penner, operations manager in Terrace for the ministry, “we are actually in pretty good shape right now on the islands, and there are other pressures in the region that need attention.” The stretch of highway between Masset and Port was last paved in 1986. Last year, North Coast MLA Gary Coons called it “aged” and said he was concerned for public safety. While the road is coming to the end of its life expectancy and starting to show signs of age and wear, Mr. Penner said maintenance done by a local contractor has been enough to put off paving for a couple of years. According to Dennis Reindl of O’Brien Road and Bridge Maintenance Ltd. in Port Clements, the road does need to be repaved, but is not in dire need yet. “We got lucky this winter,” said Mr. Reindl, “there was not a lot of freezing, and almost no plowing, so we are in about the same position as we were last summer.” “It’s high on my priority list, and I would like to see some paving happen on that road, but I see the ministry’s point,” he said. The lack of a paving plan may also mean there will be little or no patching this year. That’s because, without a contract to pave, there’ll be no asphalt on the islands, as Prince Rupert’s Adventure Paving needs enough work here to make bringing equipment and workers cost effective. “There is no guarantee that Adventure Paving will come here, and if they aren’t here we have no asphalt” said Mr. Reindl, “It has to be worth their while, but I am hoping to have something ironed out within the next couple of months. If anyone needs paving done they should be calling Adventure, and putting it on the list.” The Ministry of Transportation said there are tentative plans to pave on the islands sometime next year or the year after. Politicians here have been lobbying for several years to have the highway repaved, and two years ago, the ministry appeared set to begin the multi-year, several million dollar project in 2009.