24h snow clearing announced for Nfld highway

GANDER, Nfld. — Parts of the Trans Canada on The Rock will get 24-hour snow clearing this winter for the first time in nearly 30 years.

According to the Advertiser newspaper, former transport minister Dianne Whalen made the announcement just before being replaced by Trevor Taylor in a cabinet shuffle last week.

The round-the-clock snow clearing program — the first in Newfoundland since 1979 — will target popular ‘trunk’ roads and high-traffic regions such as the TCH from Cooper Boulevard in Gander to the west end of the divided highway in Grand Falls-Windsor.

The pilot project is part of a $1.7 million investment fund by the government.

Some critics say the program doesn’t go far enough, however. Peter Fenwick, chair of the South West Coast Joint Council (SWCJC), says the highway leading to Port aux Basques — the coastal gateway for most goods entering or leaving the province — was overlooked.

He said bad weather in the past has played havoc with Marine Atlantic schedules.

"Ceasing snow clearing operations at 9:00 p.m. or 9:30 p.m. is likely to strand traffic on the Trans Canada Highway as it attempts to make the late night ferry and cause enormous problems for passengers and traffic that arrive in the middle of the night in the midst of a snowstorm," he wrote in a letter to Whalen.


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