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Worst Roads Campaign addresses the dire conditions of Manitoba roads for future repair

CAA Manitoba announced the reveal of the 2024 CAA Manitoba Worst Roads Campaign as this has now successfully run for 13 solid years.

CAA Manitoba announced the reveal of the 2024 CAA Manitoba Worst Roads Campaign as this has now successfully run for 13 solid years.  With the rising costs of living, investment in roads and supporting infrastructure is more important than ever, and CAA Manitoba has tirelessly advocated the citizen’s need of safe and effective travel.


With Brandon holding the number 1, the worst road in Manitoba on 18th Street, this road has been in the top ten for the last couple of years, but this is the first year that it reached first place.


“What we’ve seen happening over the years is in 2022 is when it we first noted it, the next year it climbed up a couple spots, and then a few more the following year, and then today it took number one” Stated Ewald Friesen, Manager of Government and Community Relations with CAA Manitoba.  “Ultimately what our campaign seeks to accomplish is to gather a snapshot of which roads in Manitoba are in desperate need of some attention and road repair”


The second and third place positions were also claimed by familiar names on the top 10 list—Leila Avenue in Winnipeg and Provincial Road 307 in Whiteshell. Voter feedback revealed that Leila Avenue's persistent potholes have caused significant damage to numerous vehicles, resulting in substantial repair costs for local drivers. Concerns were also raised about Provincial Road 307 due to inadequate pedestrian infrastructure and substandard road maintenance.


The main reasons why the roads in the top ten were nominated include potholes, cracking, poor maintenance, and crumbling curbs. These issues not only lead to inconvenience for drivers but also pose safety risks. Potholes and cracking can cause damage to vehicles, while poor maintenance and crumbling curbs can increase the likelihood of accidents. It's important for authorities to address these issues in order to ensure the safety and efficiency of the road network.


Along with the top 10, the campaign also has a “Regional List” where the Northern communities were closely advised in making a regional top five in which Thompson made the top two slots including; Westwood drive, being number 1, and Haze Road being number 2.


The other three below include Provincial Road 280 in Gilliam, Bracken Street in Flin Flon, and Larose Avenue in The Pas.


According to the latest survey by CAA, 78 percent of Manitobans are dissatisfied with road maintenance efforts; however, 88 percent are willing to tolerate construction inconveniences in exchange for a well-maintained road after repairs.


Friesen expressed his deep concern for Manitobans and his goals in addressing the issues, “We understand that for those who live in Northern or rural communities, the quality of your roads matters a great deal.  This is your connection to the World, it’s the difference between getting to the hospital, getting food, or visiting your relatives.  That’s part of the reason why we run this campaign annually because we want to give a voice to those who feel like they don’t get a say in the condition roads they travel on daily”


“We did a survey a while back and we asked folks how they feel about the roads and 96% of people said that they’re very concerned.  Most of these people don’t take the concern who can do anything about it” He stated Friesen, “So what our campaign will do is address it to CAA which will take it to the Manitoba Legislature and publicize the information so the Government’s got the message”


In the past, there have been many success stories with the campaign making significant changes to the betterment of road conditions.  Highway 75 was at one point in dire need of attention and continually made it steadily in the top 10, and was issued a 61 Million dollar investment for repurposing.  St. James was in the top 10 for many years until the campaign brought the need to light and after significant road repair, it was then removed from the list.


“We know that this campaign works, but we can’t do it without the help of Manitobans and their support,” Said Friesen


Another survey was issued this past January revealing that 54% of Manitobans have reported that their car had been damaged because of bad roads.  But out of the 54%, 70% of them did not file a claim with MPI they just simply paid out of pocket for the repair.  “This leaves us with the most important question; ‘how much did that cost you’” Friesen added.  The average cost that the roads have cost Manitobans is $962.


Recently, with the Provincial Budget that was announced by Wab Kinew, there has been an investment increase of 540 Million Dollars in the construction of roads. "We have advocated year after year for road infrastructure to the Provincial Government as well as the Municipal Government, and we encourage citizens to use our data and top ten lists in their local community to advocate for the repair and prioritization of road repair," stated a Friesen.


A great deal of engagement was seen in the campaign this year, with 71 Provincial Municipalities out of the total 137 participating and nominating 486 different roads. This shows individuals who drive the roads daily that there is care and attention given to even the most rural of roads, stating that nobody is forgotten.


"Manitobans' frustration about the state of our roads is clear," Friesen concluded. “We know they voice their concerns to neighbors, friends, or mechanics, this campaign helps bring awareness to decision-makers, providing valuable insights on our preferences for how to prioritize road repair and maintenance.”


The 2024 CAA Manitoba Worst Roads Campaign has shed light on the urgent need for road maintenance and repair across the province. With the unwavering support of Manitobans and the tireless advocacy of organizations like CAA, there is hope for significant improvements in road conditions. The campaign's success in raising awareness and influencing government action demonstrates the power of collective voices in addressing crucial infrastructure issues. As we move forward, it is essential for citizens, authorities, and policymakers to work together to ensure safe and efficient travel for all road users in Manitoba.


~Matthias J. Johnson is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Thompson Citizen.  The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

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