Quebec's highways are getting worse, and a transportation report proves it
An annual report for Quebec's Transportation Ministry shows that the number of highways in good condition has decreased, although they are still far better than they were a decade ago.
Declines in quality have happened every year since 2014 despite investments of more than $2 billion in highway repairs.
This evaluation does not look at any road that is under the control of any municipality in the province: it only looks at roads that are a provincial responsibility.
The ministry breaks up the roads it is responsible for into three categories: small rural roads; highway, provincial routes and service roads; and "strategic" routes used for imports and exports.
Every category saw a decline in quality for the 2017-2018 year under analysis.
Overall the number of roads in good condition dropped from 88.3 percent in 2014 to 86.7 percent at the end of 2017.
After the de la Concorde Bridge collapse in 2006 the Ministry of Transportation devoted time and energy to an inspection of every provincial road, and two years later determined that just 68 percent of provincial roads were rated as being in good condition
From 2007 until 2013 the Ministry spent about $3 billion per year on repairs, but since then the amount spent annually has declined.
That does not include money spent on rebuilding the Turcot Interchange.
Traffic consultant Rick Leckner said there needs to be proper oversight that money is being spent well.
"There should be for the benefit of the public, an accounting. We talked about increasing gas taxes and we talked about that going to maintenance of the road network. I'm not convinced that's done," said Leckner.
Spring flooding in 2017, as well as a labour dispute, delayed government work, helping contribute to the decline.
Several third-party consultants told the MTQ that at current spending levels the province's roads are deteriorating faster than they can be repaired, and that the ministry will not meet its 2020 objective to have better roads.