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Prince Edward County’s Highway 49 named CAA’s Worst Road in Ontario

Mayor-Quaiff-with-Hwy-49-rocksHighway 49 in Prince Edward County is officially the worst road in Ontario – topping the votes in CAA’s annual Worst Roads campaign.

And though he’s invested a lot of time and effort into getting funding to repair the crumbling highway, Mayor Robert Quaiff has mixed feelings about today’s announcement, being a negative honour, but is hopeful the distinction may help pave the way to repairs.

“With over 1,100 km of roads in PEC it is difficult to properly fund and plan for the reconstruction,” said Quaiff. “We need to find a solution to the problem and are willing to work with the level of governments as a partner, looking ahead in 2017 we will begin preparing an annual amount program at our own expense.”

The road, which stretches approximately 20kms from the Quinte Skyway Bridge to the town of Picton, is a major tourism and industrial route that serves as a major entry to the County for tourists, and a busy road for residents to get to Highway 2 and the 401.

“Mayor Quaiff and I talk about County Road 49 it seems like once a week,” said Todd Smith, Prince Edward Hastings MPP. “He makes sure that he stays in my ear about it and that keeps it on the front burner when we talk about infrastructure at Queen’s Park. I’m hoping that with the help of the CAA, we can get some extra attention and finally some funding for 49.”

The results of the annual campaign were unveiled by the Canadian Automobile Association this morning.

Six of the roads on the 2016 list are from the Northern Ontario region, with three of them from Timmins. All the roads on the list were verified by the Ontario Road Builders’ Association.

More than 2,500 different roads were nominated across the province. For the first time in the campaign’s history, roads in the City of Toronto were bumped out of the Top 5 and no roads from Ottawa made it to the Top 10.

Of the roads on this year’s Top 10 list, participants said that potholes and congestion were the main reasons why they voted. Other factors that voters cited included pedestrian and cycling safety.

Ontario’s Top 10 Worst Roads for 2016:
1. County Road 49, Prince Edward County
2. Algonquin Blvd. W., Timmins
3. Balmoral St., Thunder Bay
4. Algonquin Blvd. E., Timmins
5. Queenston St., St. Catharines
6. Burlington St. E., Hamilton
7. Lorne St., Sudbury
8. Bayview Ave, Toronto
9. Dufferin St., Toronto
10. Riverside Dr., Timmins and Water St., Thunder Bay (tied for 10th)

The worst roads in CAA’s east region were:
1. County Road 49 – Prince Edward County
2. Limoges Rd. – Limoges
3. Lansdowne St. – Peterborough
4. Marshall Rd. – Belleville
5. Otonabee Dr. – Peterborough

In February, Mayor Quaiff was photographed with three large chunks of concrete he came across on the highway while travelling to a meeting. He added this evidence to previous concerns discussed with Transportation Minister Stephen del Duca. Earlier this spring the County was denied a funding request by the province for repairs because it “didn’t meet the component of ‘critcal health and safety’ factor.

There are up to 4,200 vehicles travelling Highway 49 every day according to 2012 figures.

The CAA presents its worst roads list and recommendations to local and provincial officials in an effort to have those roads fixed.

Algonquin Boulevard West in Timmins took the top spot in the 2015 poll. Timmins had three roads on the provincial Top 10 list, while Toronto had two, including Dufferin Street, which previously held the number one spot for three years.

Ray Chan speaks with the media following CAA's worst roads announcement this morning in this photo posted on CAA's Twitter account.

Ray Chan speaks with the media following CAA’s worst roads announcement this morning in this photo posted on CAA’s Twitter account.

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  1. Paul Cole says:

    I agree with Chuck and Gary parts of County Road 49 are in very good condition. If The County were to take its time and replace or repair the worst sections first, 49 would be a better road and allow other roads that are in way worse condition to get needed repairs as well. C mon County Council use your noggins….

  2. Gary says:

    I agree. This road does not require a total replacement as much is in very good condition. Now Talbot St from Main to the little swamp is bad. A gravel road would be better. Speaking of gravel, perhaps that is a reality. Water & Hydro bills probably take a priority for the working poor!!

  3. Chuck says:

    Drove 49 today. There are long stretches of this road that are as good as the day it was built. Should be looking at concrete repair perhaps at a third of the cost of 22 million.

  4. Emily says:

    No offense Dennis, I enjoy your input and insight. I may have got carried away but I did address the PR issues which the Mayor was initially a big part of as well. He has since lowered his stance on County Rd 49 significantly. He is now more into pushing the Port Terminal on the harbour.

  5. Dennis Fox says:

    Thanks Emily, I’m not looking for an argument over this road – and I’m not sure what you said has anything to do with it. However, I get very concerned when elected officials/government use publicity games to decide on how our tax dollars are spent – voting in an online survey to decide on what road is the worst in Ontario is as crazy as it can get. Just my opinion, but I can’t support building infrastructure based on such nonsense. If this is how PEC has been run for all these years, no wonder we are in financial difficulties. Anyway, I am not going to discuss this issue any longer – what’s the point?

  6. Emily says:

    Dennis, you have said that several times. Perhaps it is a publicity stunt. Perhaps the Mayors photo op with the boulders was a publicity stunt. Stunts work in this different world. Donald Trump was a cheap publicity stunt and now he is one election from being President! Stunts, blind cap and trade, carbon tax, and even the mindset that there is real climate change are all stunts in some manner. The Earth’s climate changes continuously and what we are experiencing is nothing new. In a few million years our oceans will boil as the sun starts it’s decline to burn out. No stunt on that one!

  7. Dennis Fox says:

    In response to one of the comments – I would be very interested in knowing how many people actually voted on this survey. The reason I question the validity of it is due to the fact that the placement standing of #49 changed quickly within minutes – moving quickly to the top spot. I know this because I monitored the survey for some time. This indicates that very few voted, where a difference of a dozen votes can get you moving up the ladder very quickly. As The Times indicates – 49 is no where near the worst road in the province, nor even in PEC. This is not a good way to determine road needs – nothing but a cheap publicity stunt to sell memberships to CAA – we should know better.

  8. Chuck says:

    49 is a County Road so it is difficult to compare to Highways 33 & 62. Those highways fall under provincial jurisdiction.

  9. Wayne Brown says:

    Sorry Dennis, the people who voted seem to disagree. Probably from the thousands that stream into the county each summer over this sorry excuse for a highway. You cannot even compare this road to other county roads, compare it with highway 33 and highway 62.

  10. Emily says:

    Are you suggesting those concrete chunks with the Mayor are not from the highway?

  11. Dennis Fox says:

    Congratulations to The Wellington Times for reporting on this issue (Editorial of 16/06/010) with the honesty that is required to put it into the right perspective. That is, Highway 49 is NOT the worst road in the province – it isn’t even the worst road in PEC, according to our own Public Works Dept. This kind of cheap PR work will eventually back-fire on this community. Instead of receiving truthful and accurate info from our municipality, the feds and province are instead getting a cheap game played on them through the CAA magazine. This will not do us well in the long run. Mayor Quaiff needs to set the record straight now! The size of the highway pieces he is posed with in the photo are big enough to stop a tank.

  12. ADJ says:

    There must be some kind of product on the market that suits cement repairs. A filler compound that expands and contracts with temp. change.Some cutting and removal would be necessary then a “filler” injected or poured to replace. Asphalt patching on any of the County roads is a waste of money and time.
    Is it those expasion cuts that make it feel like your driving on four flats? Has to be a better answer.I won’t hold my breath waiting for the Fiberals to pony up.They want to eliminate natural gas as a heating source..idiots! So build a gas plant next to a hydro generating station! Unbelievable!!

  13. Wayne Brown says:

    The money is a terrible cost, to drive slowly you would have to lower the speed limit to 50 or 60. Recently I had a ball of tar fired under my vehicle on Highway 49. The harden ball torn open my gas tank and took out my back tire. There was so much damage to the under carriage that the car was a write off. I was traveling at 80 Km an hour. Even the police officer at the scene said the road is a disaster. Sure I am not the only victim of this road. Something needs to be done as thousands get ready to visit the County once again. Do we need deaths before the City of Prince Edward County and the province of Ontario act.
    The type of maintenance is the problem. The tar based element being used to fix the holes, cracks etc. does not bond with the cement, it just sits there waiting to be torn up by a large vehicle, that on this road are many. You can see it lying all along the road. The answers to this are hard but it cannot be ignored.

  14. Fred says:

    The nearing 50 year old experimental road has fared pretty well. I am not in support of borrowing $22,000,000 to fully rebuild it. I’d rather drive slower and more carefully.

  15. Wayne Brown says:

    This road is in terrible condition. Maintenance wise you cannot repair a cement base road with tar. The trucks just roll it up into balls and fire it off like ping pong balls.
    This was an experimental road to see how cement roads would fare in Ontario. The only way to fix it is to resurface the whole road.
    Think there are some pundits here trying to say the CAA survey is out of wack. Who would go out of their way to do such a thing. This is the worst road in Ontario period…..

  16. Phil Norton says:

    It’s really not that bad. It’s scenic and mostly smooth and super wide and you can only do 80 km/hr anyway so the bumps don’t matter. Keep patching it and lower taxes or use our money to solve some real problems like supporting at-risk PEC youth.

  17. Paul Cole says:

    Did you even read my post Chris Keen ?

  18. Paul Cole says:

    That’s why I said IRONICALLY Chris Keen The County is responsible for County Road 49 and is having trouble maintaining any road in The County

  19. Chris Keen says:

    @ Paul Cole “Ironically CAA will help by putting pressure on the level of Government responsible for maintaining said road.”

    That would be the County, Paul, which is already struggling to maintain all of our roads.

    It’s highly unlikely that CR 49 is the “worst” road in Ontario. I suspect if we could go behind the scenes of this yearly publicity stunt we’d find a few “gremlins” voting for it dozens of times a day for many weeks to insure it “won”.

  20. Dennis Fox says:

    To Chuck – I don’t disagree with anything you have said. But what I am trying to get at is that having the public vote for what is the worst road in a magazine is a very poor way for governments to decide on what road should get done. Just how many people actually voted for 49? We know that it isn’t the worst road in all of the province – so what road “might” be left undone, one that could endanger the public – and why, because of this nonsense? We are all familiar with what Harris amalgamated and the cost to all of us – but that is no excuse for this CAA magazine vote. How would we feel if a PEC road didn’t get done because another community out voted us for funds? This is not the way decisions should be made.

  21. Fred Flinstone says:

    We should know by now that all governments are ruthless and self serving. Their primary purpose is to stay in power at any cost. The County is an easy tax grab on tourism. And if the government can push the envelope further they can inflict their “Green Energy” upon us as well. It serves the masses that vote for them because they are unaffected or unaware.

  22. Chuck says:

    Hey Paul; the same government that amalgamated municipal governments, amalgamated Hospitals and deregulated the former Ontario Hydro. Where has all that got is? Oh but Harris being a golf junky, he did put booze out on the courses! Lol

  23. Paul Cole says:

    Ironically CAA will help by putting pressure on the level of Government responsible for maintaining said road. As Chuck mentioned after Mr.Harris and the PC party downgraded it from hiway 49 to County Road 49 maintenance of the road is the Counties responsibility Thank you Progressive ConArtist Party of Ontario…

  24. Chuck says:

    They always identify significantly travelled major routes Dennis, not small County roads. It may be fair to say that some is PR but if it get’s us some coin to fix a major County route, deal me in. The Tories dumped this former Hwy on the County and gave enough $$ for about two years repair. Another download.

  25. Dennis Fox says:

    I’m not sure if this designation for Hwy 49 is an accurate one. While it needs repair, it is not even the worse road in PEC, let alone in the entire province! If our Mayor needs proof, I can show him a number of roads here in PEC that are a lot worse. Maybe what we need to start designating here is “how dangerous” some of our roads are. These ‘unofficial” High Collision signs erected by The County are proof that they know about it – why not get some PR going on that? This CAA designation is really a farce and it should not be used to determine neither what road needs to be repaired nor on how public money is spent. This is nothing more than a magazine PR ploy to attract new membership to CAA. Hopefully our politicians are above such nonsense!

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