UPDATE: Crosswalks and turning lanes to be repainted this summer

Derek Montague
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Government spokesperson says road paint not as strong as before

Hugo Vaillancourt has found driving in Happy Valley-Goose Bay frustrating. He moved to central Labrador from Halifax in January and had gotten his learner’s permit earlier this year.

According to the Department of Transportation and Works, the faded crosswalks and turning lanes on Hamilton River Road will be repainted later this summer.

One of Vaillancourt’s biggest concerns is the heavily faded road paint at a busy intersection on Hamilton River Road, which is supposed to indicate two separate lanes at a set of traffic lights.

The white lines and arrows that show drivers which lane to use when turning left are all but gone. It’s not much of a problem for people who have lived in the area for years and know the intersection. But for Vaillancourt, who is still getting used to driving in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, it causes some confusion.

“It can be dangerous,” said Vaillancourt about the faded and disappearing road paint in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. “The worst is the faded lines for the turning lanes … you just got to know that they’re there.”

“The first time I drove up the valley to (that intersection), I almost got into an accident because I didn’t know there was a turning lane.”

It’s not just the turning lanes that have become unnoticeable around town. The white paint on many crosswalks has become severely faded. Fortunately, many of the crosswalks have signs nearby, letting drivers know that where it’s supposed to be.

Nonetheless, the faded paint does make it harder to notice the crosswalks at times.

“At one time, I was surprised when a pedestrian started to cross, because the lines weren’t there,” said Vaillancourt.

Hamilton River Road is the responsibility of the province. The Labradorian requested an interview with Transportation and Works Minister Nick McGrath, but he wasn’t available for comment.

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for the department said the crosswalks and turning lanes on Hamilton River Road would be done later this summer.

“To date, summer maintenance has focused on road repairs and on centre line painting, which is done with a large automated painting truck. This approach requires less personnel to operate and traffic control measures,” states the email.

“Painting crosswalks, as well as turning arrows and other markings, on the Hamilton River Road will commence shortly and be completed this summer. The department is currently recruiting personnel who will complete this work.”

The email goes on to explain that the road paint being used doesn’t last as long as some of the alternatives, but is safer for people and the environment.

“The type of paint applied to provincial roads and highways is different than years ago.  Previously-used alkyd paint was phased out of use due to environmental and health concerns. Paint is now latex, which while it does not last as long as alkyd paint, it is safer on the environment and public health.”

Some of the roads that belong to the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay also have faded markings. The situation hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Happy Valley-Goose Bay town council. Mayor Jamie Snook has heard concerns from a group of citizens and said the situation should be resolved soon.

“Last night (July 7), the Community Services and Recreation Committee received a delegation … about this topic and the committee is concerned about it,” said Snook.

“(We) have asked management to follow up with the spots that have already been identified and work to have the municipal roads updated. Some of it is actually already ongoing.”

Snook is also asking that business owners take responsibility for their private parking lots as well. There are still many lots where the paint is disappearing, including the blue handicap parking zones.

“A lot of other places where this (repainting) needs to be done is on private property,” said Snook. “We certainly encourage the businesses to show leadership and get this done, because it does present a danger …”

derek.montague@thelabradorian.ca

Organizations: Community Services, Recreation Committee

Geographic location: Hamilton River Road, Happy Valley, Goose Bay

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  • g Turner
    July 10, 2014 - 10:48

    Ah, you're breaking my heart Hugh, planes to Halifax are available at the airport, byeeee. Guess the roads will be painted, as usual, just before it snows again, difficult for government officials to work out just when to paint roads I guess (?)