AMHERST – It is news Greg Smith has waited more than 20 years to hear.
The provincial Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Department announced earlier this week that it intends to repave a portion of the Hastings Road just outside Amherst.
“I had to make sure I heard it correctly when I first heard the news,” said Smith, who has had to repair his vehicle because of the poor condition of the road. “I’ve lived here for 21 years and there has been very little work done on that road during the period.”
Smith went public about the road’s condition last May at the start of the provincial election campaign while he and other residents signed a petition calling on the province to do something about the road that has seen additional traffic in recent years following construction of an egg farm on the nearby Travis Road.
He said residents were frustrated with continued inaction by the department. Most years TIR would come out to fill the many potholes on the road only to have them reappear within days or weeks.
The department’s five-year highway improvement plan is pledging to repave 2.5 kilometres of the Hastings Road from Highway 6 to the Travis Road and it’s pledging to repave 3.3 kilometres of the Travis Road.
The work is being promised during the 2018-19 fiscal year.
Area county councilor Joe Van Vulpen said it’s a situation where residents should take credit for continuing to press both county council and the provincial government to fix the road.
“Everyone was 100 per cent behind signing a petition and pressuring the province to do something, it’s something they deserve a lot of credit for doing,” said Van Vulpen, who said it was the biggest issue he and fellow councilor Marlon Chase heard during the October 2016 municipal election campaign. “It has been 30 to 35 years since that road has been paved and it has fallen into poor condition. It is definitely in need.”
Van Vulpen said it’s essential for the road to be repaired because there is increased truck traffic to and from the egg farm, while many residents in the area use the road to take their children to Cumberland North Academy in Brookdale.
“There’s a lot of school traffic on that road because parents in the Warren area all use that road to get to the school in Brookdale. It’s a much shorter route so there’s a lot of car and school bus traffic on the road every day,” Van Vulpen said.
Smith-McCrossin said she’s pleased to see the work will be done on both roads as well as on another section of Highway 6 near Linden. She’s confident the department will not only repave the road but build it up stronger with better shoulders.
She also gave credit to he predecessor for being vocal on the issue before she was elected last May.
“I have to give credit to Terry Farrell because he was already working hard on this issue before I was elected,” Smith-McCrossin said. “I know he had spoken to TIR on this on several occasions. I’m sure it was a combination of him working before me, myself taking the petition to Halifax when I was elected and Joe Van Vulpen pushing to bring the residents concerns forward.”
Other roads to make the plan for 2018-19 include two sections of Highway 104 totaling just over 11 kilometres, 1.48 kilometres of the Tidnish-Linden Road from Route 6 to Route 366 and 5.5 kilometres of the Wentworth-Collingwood Road.
The province is also repaving five kilometres of the Gulf Shore Road near Pugwash and 6.4 kilometres of Route 204 from McCormick Street to Thomson Road, while resurfacing 5.9 kilometres of the North Shore Road near Malagash.
Four county roads will also be fixed through the province’s commitment to gravel roads including portions of the Beckwith Road, Cape d’Or Road, Green Road near Tidnish, the Wallace River West Road and the West Bay Road near Parrsboro.