A ROAD DIVIDED

Hwy. 11 - Normal winter driving

I made a quick trip to the Big Berry yesterday [Note: If NYC can call itself the Big Apple, surely I can call Thunder Bay the BB].

Yes, winter roads again.  We had perhaps six to nine centimetres (3 to 4 inches) falling in the 12-hour period, and the temperature hovered just below zero (Celsius, of course.  I know, I know . . . Some backward places on the planet still use the Imperial system of measurement, a reminder of their colonial pasts.)

Anyway, the point is, in this country, in winter, road conditions can change in a blink.  The City had cleared the main thoroughfares in the BB, leaving only the occasional icy patch.  Off the main arteries, vehicles slithered through slush.  Returning north, I travelled bare pavement, occasionally skating across an outdoor rink.

After the Nipigon River bridge, Highway 17 continues east; Highway 11 turns north.  Those continuing east immediately encountered a snow-covered trail rutted with tracks.  I turned north on relatively bare pavement, encountering occasional slush and hard-packed snow.

In the Province of Ontario, the government contracts out its highway maintenance responsibilities.  A contractor has responsibility in a sector that may include several hundred kilometers of highway.  The contractors are supposed to be singing from the same hymn book, but, believe me, they rarely do.

I always note the dischordance [sic] at the Gorge Creek Road turnaround, near Orient Bay.  There, one contractor has maintenance towards Nipigon; the other, towards Geraldton.  Over many seasons I have noted that the Geraldton-bound contractor is not only off key, but appears to be following a different hymnal.  The road conditions deteriorate dramatically, not to say immediately.

Such was the case yesterday.  (Only once have I noticed a reversal of those conditions.)  During the whole trip, I noted only one vehicle in the ditch, and that was (Yeah, you got that right) north of Gorge Creek Road.

You don’t have to be Robert Frost to see a road divided.

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About EJ Lavoie

Writer and independent publisher with website www.WhiskyJackPublishing.ca
This entry was posted in GREENSTONE, NATURE and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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