Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone says major improvements for Highway 28 between Campbell River and Gold River are unlikely to happen any time soon.
Stone was in town recently announcing a the beginning of a plan to build a passing lane somewhere between Campbell River and Sayward, so the Mirror asked him about Highway 28, as well.
The windy road through the mountains is heavily trafficked by logging trucks and tourists – the latter mainly in the summer months – and visibility around many of the corners is extremely poor.
But despite these conditions, Stone said there are no plans for improvements, although they do keep an eye on what’s happening on that stretch.
“Staff are taking a look at the road into Gold River,” Stone said. “A couple of times a year we do a pretty thorough assessment of the condition of the road. Obviously, as we’re preparing now for another winter, is an important time of the year to make sure that we’re confident that vehicles – and in particular the commercial vehicles that use that road so extensively – will be able to do so this winter safely.”
Stone said the extent of the work on the road will be limited to basic upkeep. There are no plans for any major roadwork.
The ministry, he says, is mainly focused on how to better maintain what’s already in place, such as “additional grading that might need to be done, any areas where some additional brushing might improve sight lines, those kinds of things,” he said.
It basically comes down to cost versus benefit, Stone said.
“It’s always a balancing act. When you start considering ideas like widening and other improvements, you really have to balance off the costs of doing those improvements with the volumes of traffic, and then you have to balance that off with the needs of all the other other roads in the region.”
And those scales are tipped away from Highway 28, at this point.
“Whether or not we’ll see any significant improvements on that road in the near term, I think, is doubtful,” Stone said.