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Liberals Wash Hands of Eroding Bridge on Regional Highway Near Clarenville
The construction season is quickly running out while the Ball government ignores the impact on people of leaving this badly eroding bridge near Clarenville to collapse
Thursday, August 8, 2019

Office of the Official Opposition 

For Immediate Release

 

Clarenville, NL (August 8, 2019) – PC MHA for Terra Nova Lloyd Parrott is shocked the Ball government is washing its hands of responsibility for a badly eroding bridge on a regional highway near Clarenville, falsely arguing that the bridge was transferred to the town more than two decades ago.

Parrott got no satisfaction from Minister Steve Crocker when he raised the matter in the House of Assembly in June, saying: ‎"It’s been over a year now since the Shoal Harbour causeway in Clarenville was closed to two-way traffic after failing a structural engineering assessment. Despite numerous meetings and letters, the minister has refused to accept any responsibility for the bridge. How can the minister expect the Town of Clarenville to pay millions of dollars for a bridge they don’t own?‎"

The MHA pointed out there is no written transfer agreement or legal contract that specifies the causeway was ever transferred from the province to the town. In fact, a former Liberal minister of Transportation and Works stated, at the time of the purported transfer, in September 1995: 'We have no interest in transferring infrastructure to the council which will result in the council encountering unreasonable maintenance costs.'

Further supporting the town's position is the fact that the provincial government did its own assessment of the bridge after the purported transfer and scheduled it for replacement by the province.

Parrott asked: "Why is the minister refusing to do the right thing by sitting down in a face-to-face meeting with all the local municipalities and regional stakeholders, and working out a responsible solution?‎"

The MHA said the construction season is quickly running out while the Ball government ignores the impact on people of leaving this vital piece of provincially owned transportation infrastructure to collapse.

"This is a piece of regional infrastructure that has been relied on for years by thousands of commuters, tourists, commercial vehicles and even the government's own vehicles. An outright closure of the causeway would be devastating to the businesses and commerce of the entire region, and would require the government's Transportation and Works vehicles to detour all the way around the Trans-Canada Highway to get to areas they’re responsible for. It makes no sense fiscally or economically for the government to be behaving irresponsibly like this."

 

Contacts:

Bradley Russell, Director of Policy and Research

(p) 1.709.729.3668, (c) 1.709.685.3161,

BradleyRussell@gov.nl.ca

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