Original Published 09:29 May 18, 2022

By Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A common idiom is that the road to hell is paved with good intentions; although local drivers who are familiar with some of the rougher backcountry roads in the Municipal District of Pincher Creek might not have any intention of visiting such a destination, the prospect of a smooth drive might be tempting.

One particularly bad road is the Maycroft Road, which prompted concerned residents to present a formal request to MD council during the May 10 committee meeting.

Traffic counts have shown about 1,000 vehicles travel the road per day, which amounts to a car every 45 seconds or so during daylight hours.

Maycroft Road has been designated as an arterial road, said Rob Nichols, a resident who made the presentation to council. Although it used to fall under provincial jurisdiction, the MD has taken responsibility for it for the past several years.

“When you look at that actually about three per cent of the vehicle trips going up that road is people paying taxes in this municipality, it becomes obvious the road really should be a provincial road and that they should be maintaining it,” Nichols said.

Being responsible for the road opens the municipality to liability, he added, because the road itself is not in good enough condition to support the kind of traffic it currently experiences.

“The way people are driving on it and the roughness of the road, I think you have a huge liability exposure because there’s going to be a death on that road, and I don’t think it meets the level of service standards for an arterial road,” Nichols said.

“It’s dangerous and it’s an awful road.”

Nichols concluded his presentation by requesting on behalf of the area’s residents that the road be paved. Barring construction timelines and budgeting efforts, setting aside funds for regular dust control in the meantime was also requested.

As it so happens, the MD has made plans to pave Maycroft Road.

A meeting with Alberta Transport was scheduled later that same week to discuss a three-year plan to pave the road from Highway 22 to the forestry boundary. The first year would see paving completed up to the Maycroft community hall, with years 2 and 3 splitting the remaining eight kilometres or so.

The meeting with Alberta Transport will help explore what grant money might be available for building and maintaining the road. The proposed paving would total somewhere in the ballpark of $8 million to $10 million.

Taking full ownership of the road, said CAO Troy MacCulloch, was something the MD needed to do since the province was unlikely to assume responsibility again.

“The province, from what we’ve been told so far, has no desire to take that road back,” MacCulloch said. “With any luck, you will see this in our 2023 capital projects.”

Council also made a resolution during its regular council meeting that same day to approve an additional $30,000 for public works discretionary dust control for Maycroft Road. The dust-control program is scheduled to begin in June, weather permitting.

The next council meeting is Tuesday, May 24, 6 p.m. in council chambers.

This item reprinted with permission from Shootin’ the Breeze, Pincher Creek, Alberta