A family of farmers from Sussex, N.B., is speaking out about a stretch of dirt road needed to access parts of their land.
The 1.4-kilometre stretch of Hornbrook Road, just outside of Sussex, is an unforgiving ride. For the family that shares its last name with the road, the washouts, deep ruts, and partially exposed culverts are making it much harder to service their fields.
“We use the road very regularly in the summertime and it’s just getting very hard on the equipment now,” said Matthew Hornbrook.
“The road’s just getting neglected. It was scraped once last year but as soon as it rained again it just washed out and it needs to be built up so the water will run down the ditch instead of down the road.”
Global News reached out to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure asking what jurisdiction the road fell under, but did not receive a response by deadline.
The Hornbrooks insist the road has always been maintained by the province, despite their linguistic connection.
Matthew and his father Ronnie Hornbrook have had to take a lengthy detour in order to access the fields. They recently had to hire dump trucks to bring manure the long way around.
Attempts to contact the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure to get the road looked at have also been unsuccessful.
Gus Hanrahan, a neighbour of the Hornbrooks, says the road is especially important for farmers in the area at this time of year, when crops need to be planted. He adds that this is not the only road in the area that could use some attention.
“This road should be maintained. That’s what gasoline taxes are for,” said Gus Hanrahan.
“I can’t understand. They’re not repairing none of the roads. Not only this road is this bad, you travel in any road up here in King’s County area, and all the roads are every bit as bad as this one here.”
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Hanrahan is not alone with his complaints about rural roads, according to CAA Atlantic spokesperson Gary Howard.
CAA publishes a yearly round up of the worst roads in Atlantic Canada and receives plenty of feedback in the process.
“Certainly it is a priority for every government to make safer roads, as it is for us,” Howard says, “but very often it does come down to what can you do with the resources that you have.”
Unfortunately in Atlantic Canada ,those resources are not great. New Brunswick has a population of 770,633 and over 18,000 kilomtres of roads to maintain, leading to hard choices in where the resources collected from gas taxes go.
“I will say this for provincial governments: they spend back on the roads what they collect in taxes and fees and so on, so they’re doing as much as they can with the resources that they have,” Howard said.
“Unfortunately priorities are going to go to those roads that carry the most traffic.”