Brandon’s 18th Street named Manitoba’s worst road for 2024

Click to play video: 'Brandon’s 18th Street named Manitoba’s worst road for 2024'
Brandon’s 18th Street named Manitoba’s worst road for 2024
The votes are in, and a major route in Brandon has earned the dubious distinction as “Manitoba’s worst road” for 2024. Daisy Woelk has more on the results and what is being done to fix them. – May 22, 2024

The votes are in, and a major route in Brandon has earned the dubious distinction as “Manitoba’s worst road” for 2024.

That’s according to the annual campaign from CAA Manitoba, which asks drivers and residents to highlight the most frustrating roads in the province, with the goal of spurring action from local governments.

Rounding out the top three in this year’s poll are Winnipeg’s Leila Avenue and Highway 307 in Whiteshell Provincial Park — both repeat offenders who are no strangers to the annual list.

Ewald Friesen of CAA Manitoba told 680 CJOB’s The Start that 18th Street in Brandon was far-and-away the winner (or, more accurately, loser) for 2024.

“It’s a municipal street that’s also a provincial highway — so you have a municipal government and a provincial government sort of looking at each other and trying to get some consensus on what to do, how to fix this road,” Friesen said.

Story continues below advertisement

“In the meantime, the poor folks in Brandon are looking at a road that is not exactly the best thing we’ve ever seen — crumbling pavement, bad road maintenance, crumbling curbs, massive potholes.”

Click to play video: 'Data shows 2024 could be a record-breaking year in Manitoba for potholes'
Data shows 2024 could be a record-breaking year in Manitoba for potholes

Brandon’s Mayor, Jeff Fawcett, said a lot of the trouble is owed to a strange winter.

“This is the first year anybody recalls ever having to put asphalt in potholes in January and February. When we were doing that, you knew that spring was not going to be good,” he said. “So, when spring came, unfortunately, (this) was not a surprise,” he said.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

While the road is doing a bit better than about a month ago, Fawcett said, it still has a long way to go, but appreciates coordination with the Manitoba government.

“They got their teams out there, and we helped where we could too,” he said. “Within the next little bit, we’re actually going to start major construction on it.”

Story continues below advertisement

He said there will be four major underground repairs starting, and once those are complete, the province will come in and pave the street.

“It’ll be work,” Fawcett said, “but we’ll keep traffic flowing.”

Friesen said CAA knows the name-and-shame campaign can spark real action, citing Highway 75 in Morris, which received $71 million for road repairs after making a previous list, as an example.

There’s still a lot of work to do, however. Six of the top 10 worst roads have appeared on the list before, including number-two ranked Leila Avenue.

“It placed on our top 10 worst roads list for three consecutive years,” he said.

“Every year, the road has claimed a higher spot: placing seventh in 2022, fifth in 2023, and now second in 2024. I don’t know if Leila’s going to take that number one spot, but we know that this road needs quite a lot of love.”

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg mayor responds to results of Manitoba’s worst road poll'
Winnipeg mayor responds to results of Manitoba’s worst road poll

Chris Lorenc, president and CEO of the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association said proper street maintenance is crucial.

Story continues below advertisement

“The transportation system supports everything we do: Going to and from work, moving products to and from market, taking people to and from hospital, going to school, to our cottages, to beaches, welcoming tourists. It hosts everything that we do,” he said.

“A transportation system that fails us, fails us not because there’s something wrong with it, but we haven’t made the level of investment in its maintenance, rehabilitation and replacement.”

In Winnipeg, Mayor Scott Gillingham said investments are certainly being made.

“We’ve been making record investments. $159 million in road renewal last year, $138 million this year. We’re projecting another $160 million in investment next year,” he said. “That’s why two points of our property tax increase is dedicated to addressing and fixing regional and local roads.”

But, he said a little more help would be good.

“I campaigned on calling for a new funding formula to be established between the province, in the way that the province funds the City of Winnipeg, and other municipalities as well. I’m not the first mayor to have done so,” Gillingham said.

“We need a new funding arrangement between the province and the City of Winnipeg,” he added.

However, hope is on the horizon with the release of the most recent provincial budget. “Premier Kinew did commit to having dialog… to establish a new funding arrangement,” Gillingham said.

Story continues below advertisement

Transportation minister, Lisa Naylor, told 680 CJOB provincial funding increases should province relief soon.

“Certain roads, like 18th street in Brandon… were set to be resurfaced in a few years’ time, but we understand its deteriorated fast than was expected… So we’re moving that project up,” she said.

In an emailed statement she said the province is moving forward with a plan prioritizing the highways Manitobans identified with the CAA.

She added a dedicated panel, along with municipalities, are helping to prioritize the most important projects.

Rounding out the top 10 worst roads this year: Kenaston Boulevard, Empress Street, Pandora Avenue, Saskatchewan Avenue, Grant and Munroe Avenues, and Inkster Boulevard in Winnipeg, plus St. Francois Xavier’s Provincial Highway 26 and Richmond Avenue in Brandon.

Click to play video: 'CAA Manitoba ‘Worst Roads Campaign’ seeing strong start'
CAA Manitoba ‘Worst Roads Campaign’ seeing strong start

Sponsored content