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Third is first when it comes to worst roads

Besides North Bay's chart-topper, CAA's Worst Roads list includes seven from Ottawa and one each from Sudbury and Thunder Bay

North Bay's Third Avenue West tops the list of CAA's worst roads of 2021 in Ontario's combined North and East regions. The list is dominated by Ottawa roads but besides North Bay's chart-topper, Tokio Street in Thunder Bay placed fifth, while Greater Sudbury's Barrydowne Road makes an appearance at number six.

Worst Roads, North and East Ontario 2021:

  1. Third Avenue West, North Bay
  2. Gardenvale Road, Ottawa
  3. Montreal Road, Ottawa
  4. Mulvihill Road, Ottawa
  5. Tokio Street, Thunder Bay 
  6. Barrydowne Road, Greater Sudbury
  7. Montée Outaouais, Clarence-Rockland 
  8. Loggers Way, Ottawa
  9. Mountbatten Avenue, Ottawa
  10. Falaise Road, Ottawa
  11. John Aselford Drive, Ottawa

Motorists driving along Third Avenue West from Ferguson Street — which divides North Bay streets from East to West — will notice some rough patches up to Fraser Street and then some more bumps in the road up to the stop sign at Cassells Street but nothing compared to the minefield on Third West between Cassells and Front Street. A road sign warning of the bumpy ride ahead almost seems unnecessary given the scope of the pothole-filled dirt passage. The seasonal photos included above do not even begin to capture what this stretch of road looks like in the winter.  

But, the City of North Bay says help is on the way: Third Avenue West between Cassells and Front is scheduled for a major reconstruction by Public Works "this summer."

“Road safety starts with road quality,” says Jeff Walker, President and CEO of CAA North & East Ontario. “The cost of poor roads isn’t just to commerce and trade, but as our Poor Roads study showed this year, they also cost Canadian motorists more than $3 billion a year in operating costs.”

In Ontario, 117 municipalities saw roads in their communities nominated. Drivers accounted for most of the votes being cast, with cyclists and pedestrians accounting for about a quarter of the votes.

“With stay-at-home orders and lockdowns, we’re still seeing roads deteriorate, but we’re seeing different ones on the list this year. And, in our region, it’s clear that people care because we saw a 62 per cent increase in voting over 2019 when the survey was last run,” adds Walker.

After a year’s hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CAA accepted votes for this year's 17th annual Worst Roads campaign from March 23 to April 18

When CAA last published its Worst Roads list in 2019, in the list for the Northern region exclusively, North Bay's Lakeshore Drive tied for ninth with Algonquin Boulevard West in Timmins. Our neighbours to the west in Greater Sudbury placed eight entries in the top 10 (with ties), including the worst road in the whole region — Regent Street.

See related story from 2019: Lakeshore Drive makes CAA Top 10 Worst Roads list

Voters shared their primary reasons for selecting a road, with 81 per cent citing potholes or crumbling pavement, followed by traffic congestion (11 per cent) and no or poor walking infrastructure (7 per cent).

Ontario’s top 10 list is verified by the Ontario Road Builders’ Association (ORBA).

“We are very pleased to partner with CAA on the 2021 Worst Roads Campaign. ORBA provides analysis on the nominated roads, sheds light on why they were chosen and what issues are impacting them. Increased investment in our transportation infrastructure is vital to effectively maintain existing assets and plan for the future,” says  Doubra Ambaiowei, Technical Director, Ontario Road Builders’ Association.

The CAA Worst Roads campaign is a platform for Ontarians to make roads safer by helping municipal and provincial governments understand what roadway improvements are important to citizens and where they need to be made.

Votes submitted to the CAA Worst Roads campaign are compiled and released as an annual provincial top-10 list, accompanied by a series on regional lists, all designed to spark a dialogue with governments and help pave the way for safer roads across Ontario. For the full list of the 2021 Worst Roads, click here.