The Quebec branch of the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) has launched its seventh annual vote for the worst roads in the province.
The aim, said Nicolas Ryan, head of public affairs at CAA, is to hold elected officials accountable and to give residents a voice.
“The biggest prize is having money invested in their streets in their municipalities,” he explained.
Residents like those in the Town of Hudson, west of Montreal, will be voting, too. For them, the state of some of their roads, like Main Street, is such that it’s often the butt of jokes.
“They’re pretty rotten, some roads,” laughed resident David Langlois, “but they do a good job of keeping the traffic speed down.”
Mike Havard, who also lives in the town, agrees but joked that he’s more forgiving.
“For one thing I drive a Subarub, which was designed specifically for these roads,” he quipped. “So I’m having a lot of fun.”
Perhaps more people would be laughing, though, if they didn’t think the potholes on sections of Main Street, for example, were so dangerous.
“If you hit one of these at speed you’re going to go flying,” cyclist Wolf Mendritzki pointed out.
These problems are one reason that, last year, the thoroughfare was voted the fourth worst strip of road in the entire province.
According to Ryan, since the campaign started seven years ago, communities have seen municipalities take action to fix the problems that voters point out.
One example he pointed to was Gouin Boulevard east in Rivière-des-Prairies, which ended up in the top 10 worst roads for multiple years before the City of Montreal acted.
“They repaved the full street, they put in a new sidewalk for it, they put a new bike path on it,” Ryan noted.
Hudson, meanwhile, has commenced the process of working on Main Street .According to Town Director General Philip Toone, in 2021 the town spent $2.3 million on paving and road improvements on 1,050 metres in the centre of the town.
It included “improvements to underlaying sewer and aqueduct, traffic calming measures, second sidewalk and widening of parts of existing sidewalk for active transit and better support personal mobility issues,” Toone wrote in an email.
He also wrote that they plan to fix another 4.3 kilometres of Main Street over the next two years.