18th Street second-worst road in Manitoba
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Brandon’s 18th Street has “won” second place on a list of the worst roads in Manitoba, and there’s a long road ahead before it’ll finally be fixed, the mayor says.
CAA Manitoba released its annual rating of the province’s worst roads based on votes cast by Manitobans, and 18th Street climbed the ranks from fifth in the province last year to second place this year. Of the roads in Brandon, 18th Street earned the top spot, and Provincial Highway 10 placed second.
While 18th Street is located within the city of Brandon, it actually falls under provincial jurisdiction, and any repairs to the rutted road are the responsibility of the Manitoba government.
In an interview with the Sun, Mayor Jeff Fawcett said 18th Street comes up in every conversation he has with Infrastructure Minister Doyle Piwniuk.
“We drive 18th Street every day, so we have to address something there,” Fawcett said.
Earlier this spring, the minister announced that as part of the province’s new five-year infrastructure plan, more than $39 million will be used for paving and resurfacing projects along the Trans-Canada Highway and connecting roads, including the surface between First Street and 18th Street.
Fawcett previously said the province’s commitment to only add minor repairs along 18th Street instead of including the rutted thoroughfare in the five-year plan for major infrastructure work was unfortunate.
However, the mayor said Piwniuk has been receptive to concerns about the state of 18th Street, noting that crew members were out on that road repairing potholes much earlier this spring.
Still, Fawcett said the minister has not yet confirmed any plan for an overhaul repair of the street and admitted the city could be more forceful about getting that commitment.
“We do discuss it every time we talk,” Fawcett said. “So, we need to maybe get just a little more aggressive on a plan.”
Piwniuk wasn’t available for an interview by press time, but his office sent a reminder of the minister’s visit to Brandon in March, where he noted that staff had been mobilized in the city for work on spring breakup repairs and patching potholes on 18th Street as temperatures rose.
In a previous interview with the Sun when the CAA campaign kicked off in March, Piwniuk said the province’s focus in the Brandon area is on the Daly Overpass, which is currently undergoing a multimillion-dollar upgrade.
Despite long-term plans to significantly repair the street, Piwniuk said at that time there is flexibility in the province’s multi-year infrastructure investment strategy, which includes more than $2.5 billion for highway infrastructure projects.
“The results show that some roads are becoming significant pain points for Manitobans, perhaps more than our government leaders realize,” Ewald Friesen, CAA Manitoba’s manager of government and community relations, stated in a press release.
The automobile organization’s annual campaign encourages Manitobans to vote for their least-favourite road based on factors like potholes to lack of sidewalks and bike paths to congestion and poor traffic signal timing.
Provincial Road 307, which runs through Whiteshell Provincial Park, east of Winnipeg, took the award for worst road in Manitoba this year for the second time in a row.
The road “won” last year because of constant winter heaving, poor patching and spring flooding.
» Twitter: @geena_mortfield