August 12, 2005
(Transportation and Works)

Minister addresses road construction and maintenance
in Humber East and Bay of Islands districts

Tom Rideout, Minister of Transportation and Works, today addressed the construction of the access road connecting Massey Drive to the Corner Brook ring road and the maintenance of Route 440 in McIver�s.

Minister Rideout said, "I have not received any recommendations from my senior officials to address the north shore road during this construction season. At no point has Route 440 been brought to my attention as requiring immediate upgrades by my senior officials or the MHA for the Bay of Islands District.

"Mr. Joyce is trying to pit me against officials in my department, which is neither constructive nor helpful in getting district road issues addressed. He claims that our officials are similarly concerned about the maintenance of this road. However, if he has something specific to bring to my attention, then he should do just that in the appropriate manner."

Minister Rideout says the Bay of Islands MHA is not approaching this issue with appropriate protocol.

"If Mr. Joyce has an issue with road work in his district, then he should call myself or one of my senior staff directly," said the minister. "Our engineers will investigate any concern that one might have, whether it be a politician or someone in the general public. He doesn�t have to issue press releases to make his concerns known. That is simply a matter of professional courtesy."

The minister added that a senior official from the Department of Transportation and Works will be in the Bay of Islands District in the next day or so and will visit the north shore road to determine if anything has raised its level of priority. It is practice for the department to investigate any reasonable concerns raised.

Minister Rideout also commented on the Massey Drive access road that will connect the community to the Corner Brook ring road in Humber East District.

"When the access road was constructed just off the Trans Canada Highway for fire, forestry and emergency access, a number of citizens in the area made it clear to government that this road could be used to tie into Massey Drive since it is in close vicinity to the community," said the minister. "This will provide an additional exit from Massey Drive and may provide opportunities for new development.

"Government is simply responding to the requests of people in this area that were generated upon completion of this initial project."

The minister also says it is completely appropriate to pass this road over to the Town of Massey Drive upon completion, as the previous administration did with multiple road projects.

"This will not be the first time an action of this nature will be taken," said the minister. "The previous administration did this a number of times during its time in office. Examples include Griffith Drive and Riverside Drive in Corner Brook, constructed in the early 1990s, and the Grand Falls industrial access road, developed in 1990. A more recent example is the portion of the outer ring road between Logy Bay Road and Harding Road. This was constructed under the previous administration in 2002. All of these roads were turned over to the respective municipalities upon completion, fully constructed and paved."

Minister Rideout says he offers no apologies for addressing transportation issues in government districts throughout the province. "When the previous administration was in power, opposition districts were highly neglected," said the minister. "This neglect now needs to be addressed, and that is exactly the action our department is taking.

"I had an analysis completed for the last five years that the previous administration was in office. Statistics from this analysis clearly indicate that the largest percentage of the allocated funding for roads went to government districts.

"I make no apologies now for addressing areas that were neglected when the previous administration was in power."

Media contact: Lori Lee Oates, ABC, Communications, (709) 729-3015, 690-8403

2005 08 12                                                    9:25 a.m.

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