Provincial Road 280 between Thompson and Gillam has been dubbed the worst road in Manitoba, according to CAA Manitoba's annual Worst Roads campaign.
The 2015 campaign saw more votes than any of the previous three drives, with over 6,106 votes being cast for hundreds of roads across Manitoba. Construction has already taken place on a number of roads previously in the auto club's top 10 list.
Though progress has been slow, CAA Manitoba says it is promising to see municipalities and the Government of Manitoba listening to the priorities of Manitobans, and have started to move forward. "The problem is that our roads had been ignored for so long," says Mike Mager, president and CEO of CAA Manitoba. "We are still playing catch up. It's not where we want it to be, but by identifying the priorities we can go to government and ask them to lay out their plans."
Manitoba's Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation Ron Kostyshyn welcomed the input from CAA Manitoba's annual campaign. "The CAA Worst Roads Campaign helps us understand the priorities of Manitobans. We have used feedback from previous campaigns to help guide us as we develop highway improvement plans," Kostyshyn said. "In partnership with Manitoba Hydro, we have spent over $14 million since 2010 upgrading PR 280 and plan to spend another $25 million in the next two years."
The minister noted the work on PR 280 is part of the Manitoba government's $5.5-billion, five-year plan to build a stronger province by investing in infrastructure. Winnipeg's St. James Street was crowned the province's worst in 2014 and 2012, and came in a very close second this year. Ness Avenue earned the bronze metal, narrowly beating out fourth-placed Empress Street.
Other top ten roads in Winnipeg include Pembina Highway (seventh place), Scurfield Boulevard (eighth place) and Archibald Street (tenth place). Four out of top ten roads are outside of Winnipeg, including 1st Street in Winkler (fifth place), Manitoba 450 near Deloraine (sixth place) and Manitoba 274 near Gilbert Plains (ninth place).
"In 2013, Victoria Avenue in Brandon was named the worst road, and now we can say it's the most improved," says Mager. "This campaign isn't about complaining or finding the biggest pothole. It's about identifying the problems, then lobbying for permanent change. We are glad this campaign gets people talking, but moreover, roads are getting fixed. There is a lot of work to do."