State of Thunder Bay Roads: Arthur Street West and Memorial Avenue Make it to Worst Roads List

24363
Red River Road in Thunder Bay showing perhaps the impact of years of infrastructure deficit
Red River Road in Thunder Bay showing perhaps the impact of years of infrastructure deficit

Thunder Bay – NEWS – Winter and especially spring has been really hard on Thunder Bay roads. The potholes on many streets are in the views of many the worst they have been in years.

Thunder Bay City Councillors are reportedly getting a lot of complaints over the potholes. They should, the state of roads is poor in many cases.

Red River Road Rodeo

Often citizens are told that the weather is at fault. The city’s Python machine has been out, but it uses cold mix which does not solve the problem as much as it puts a band-aid on it.

The issue with potholes is not just here in Thunder Bay.

However, Arthur Street West and Memorial Avenue in Thunder Bay have made it to the CAA’s annual worst roads list.

Memorial Avenue has become in parts like a slalom course for drives seeking to avoid the countless potholes. Transit drivers too are challenged to allow passengers as jarring free a ride as possible.

On Red River Road even the old rail lines from the long-gone street car have surfaced near Cumberland Street.

Potholes at Park Street and Cumberland Street South
Potholes at Park Street and Cumberland Street South

There is a huge cost from the state of our roads

Thunder Bay roads this spring are taking a beating. But so too are the personal vehicles of residents, as well as the business vehicles of many companies.

Huge Cost for Drivers

Overall, Canadians are paying $3 billion every year in higher vehicle operating costs due to poor road infrastructure, according to a new study by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA).

“Canada’s roads are vital for commuters, business and connecting communities,” states Ian Jack, vice-president of public affairs, CAA National. “This study shows for the first time the hidden cost to drivers of below-average roads. And it demonstrates that governments would save money in the long run if they brought roads up to – not perfection – but a good standard. That should be attainable.”

The CAA study is the first in Canada to show the cost to vehicle owners of poor roads, rather than focusing on how much it costs to build or repair them. CAA’s analysis revealed the average Canadian driver incurs an extra $126 in costs annually due to the poor quality of roads – a total of $3 billion for drivers collectively. That cost comes in the form of more vehicle repairs, higher maintenance and other operating expenses.

“A vehicle is the second-largest expense for the average household,” states Jack. “And when Canadians are paying higher vehicle operating costs due to poor roads, that is money they no longer have to spend on everyday wants and needs.”

The study uses self-reported data from provincial and municipal agencies, who indicated that close to half (43 per cent) of Canadian roads are rated below average. Using the most recent data available from Statistics Canada, the study calculates how much more drivers pay in maintenance and other costs when they drive on poor roads as compared to good roads. Good doesn’t mean brand new, just consistently well-maintained.

Red River Road in Thunder Bay showing perhaps the impact of years of infrastructure deficit
Red River Road in Thunder Bay showing perhaps the impact of years of infrastructure deficit

“Repairing roads before they are allowed to deteriorate is a win-win proposition: it saves governments money and it saves drivers money,” says Jack. “The study finds that spending one dollar on pavement preservation eliminates or delays spending $6-$10 on costly repairs later.”

Heading into an election year, municipal politicians are likely to have many voters wondering how come expensive projects like art galleries and indoor turf facilities have seemingly dominated the future plans of Council members while the roads in the city are often like an obstacle course.

It could be one of the big election issues. Time will tell.