Ontario’s worst roads (and how to fix them)

For many people, their daily commute includes roads riddled with traffic congestion, potholes or poor signage.

Ontarians can voice their concerns by nominating that road in CAA’s annual Worst Roads campaign. The month-long, road safety advocacy campaign, now in its 16th year, invites drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians to share their opinions on road conditions.

“We want to know what roads are pain points for Ontarians. By highlighting specific problems, you can play a vital role in making roads safer for everyone,” says Raymond Chan, government relations specialist for CAA South Central Ontario.

The campaign acts as a forum for road users to share their experiences about road conditions in Ontario. The goal is to help elected officials better understand areas that are in need of improvement.

“Over the past 16 years, votes in the CAA Worst Roads campaign have helped to send a message to governments that we need proper maintenance and improvements to our existing road network,” says Chan.

According to a study conducted on behalf of CAA, 71 per cent of Ontarians are concerned about the condition of roads while 67 per cent of respondents stated they took no action to get them repaired.

“The data reinforces the campaign’s importance. The simple act of participating in the CAA Worst Roads campaign can help various levels of government understand what roadway improvements are top of mind for road users, and where improvements could be prioritized,”   says Chan.

CAA’s Worst Roads campaign has resulted in several success stories over the years. The repair works done along Burlington Street East in Hamilton, Duckworth Street in Barrie, Dufferin Street in Toronto, Limebank Road in Ottawa, and Queenston Street in St. Catharines, are just some examples of how CAA’s campaign has been successful in giving Ontarians a voice, and working with governments to proactively seek improvements to the province’s road network.

Anyone who has driven on Burlington Street East in Hamilton over the last decade can attest to its crumbling pavement and potholes. The road has made the CAA Worst Roads list every year since 2008 and took the title as CAA’s Worst Road in 2017 and 2018. However, there is good news: Hamilton’s city council has dedicated $3.3 million worth of funding to repave and resurface the lower portion of Burlington Street East, a welcome improvement for everyone that relies on that road each day.

Another success story is Duckworth Street in Barrie. It placed third on Ontario’s Top 10 list in 2018. Thanks to the $10.3 million allocated to reconstructing the road, phase one of the project began last fall, and phase two is set to move forward this spring. Duckworth Street, between Melrose Avenue and Bell Farm Road, is expected to be completed by 2020.