MUNICIPALITY OF PONTIAC – For the third time in the last few years, a stretch of Highway 148 in Luskville closed indeterminately, July 2, around noon after a large sink hole, about 10 meters wide and 30 meters deep according to initial reports, developed on the edge of the pavement near Luskville’s baseball park between Alary and Nugent Roads.
Consequently, traffic was directed through the Masham area along Highway 105 on an approximate 60 kilometre detour until July 4 when a temporary bypass around the sinkhole was created. Traffic alternates along the bypass with the aid of a traffic light.
A culvert blockage under the highway due to rising water levels is said to have caused the damage. “The culvert was on a priority list for replacement,” said André Fortin, Pontiac MNA. “The local mayor, Roger Larose, had contacted the Ministry of Transport about the problem a few days before the event happened.”
According to Fortin, the contract for the repairs needed did not go to full tender because of the urgency of the situation. “Given the urgency, the government quickly approached local firms to get quotes. The work will begin after a firm is chosen, which should be next week (July 14-18). The work is expected to take four to six weeks to complete,” explained Fortin.
In the meantime, Fortin expressed a need to examine the situation to ensure it does not occur again. “Now, let’s figure out the reasons for this extremely frustrating situation. This is the third time this has happened in the same area over the last few years, and it has to be the last! You accept the first time it happens. After the second time, you start asking questions and after the third time, it is simply unacceptable. Highway 148 is one of the only access roads to the Pontiac and commuters depend on it. We need to closely examine problem areas or areas where there are no simple solutions to getting around them,” he concluded.