From potholes to traffic congestion, CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) is calling on all road users across the province to nominate and vote for roads they believe are in urgent need of repair. The CAA’s annual Worst Roads campaign provides a platform for Ontarians to give decision-makers a snapshot of what roads are not meeting their expectations.
“Over the past 18 years, the CAA Worst Roads campaign has had a direct impact on road infrastructure and helped to prioritize much-needed road repairs,” says Teresa Di Felice, assistant vice-president, government and community relations for CAA SCO. “We are proud to see that decision-makers are listening and taking action. Many of the roads on past lists have since been repaired and repaved.”
WORST ROADS SUCCESS STORIES
Some examples of success stories include Victoria Road in Prince Edward County, which made its debut in 2021 as the worst road in the province due to potholes and crumbling pavement, and poor or lacking walking infrastructure. Just one month later, Prince Edward County approved a plan to maintain and rehabilitate more than 75 kilometres of roadway within the region.
Construction on Bell Farm Road in Barrie is expected to be completed this fall thanks to the $13.8 million allocated after it was nominated last year as the worst road within the central region.
Another success story is Lauzon Parkway in Windsor. With a reputation for being bumpy and uncomfortable to travel through, it was ranked the second-worst road in the southwest region of Ontario last year. In June 2021, the City of Windsor announced $8.1 million in funding for its reconstruction over a period of 16 months. While announcing the reconstruction, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens was quoted as saying, “I want to tell you … to scratch Lauzon Parkway off that list.” The list he was referring to, was the annual CAA Worst Roads List.
GOOD ROADS AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY
According to the 2019 Canadian Infrastructure Report Card, spending one dollar on pavement preservation may eliminate or delay spending six to 10 dollars on costly repairs later on.
“Over the course of the last 24 months, many road and infrastructure projects have already taken place, taking advantage of the lighter traffic patterns. Our roads are the arteries used every day to keep essential workers, goods and services flowing and should be maintained more than ever. Good roads are critical to building a strong economic recovery, and investments in roads create jobs,” says Di Felice.
THE POTHOLE PROBLEM
A recent CAA member survey shows drivers are altering their behaviour to accommodate for road issues — 65 per cent are slowing down, and 64 per cent are swerving to avoid potholes.
“Poor roads cause damage to vehicles, which is problematic because more people are now trying to hold on to their cars for longer as the inventory of vehicles continues to remain scarce due to the global semiconductor chip shortage,” says Di Felice. “Damage to cars caused by potholes and poor road conditions can cost motorists thousands of dollars in repairs.”
The average cost of repairing pothole damage to a vehicle is more than $300, with some fixes topping $6,000 depending on the make and model of the car.
Once the nominations are in, the Ontario Road Builders’ Association (ORBA) assesses each road on the list, analyses how long the road can last in its current condition and offers an explanation for its deterioration.
“The public identifies the problem, we verify it, and the CAA works with the government to get the roads repaired in a timely manner,” says Bryan Hocking, CEO, ORBA. “Funding for road maintenance, repair and replacement needs to be consistent to ensure that quality and safety is maintained, to plan for the future and to literally keep Ontario moving.”
After the campaign wraps up on April 19, CAA SCO will release a list of the Top 10 Worst Roads in Ontario along with a series of Worst Roads in regions across the province. To have your say, visit www.caaworstroads.com.