GAMBO, N.L. – There won’t be any upgrades coming to Joey’s Lookout – near Gambo – anytime soon.
The popular tourist destination, overlooking the community, was left of out the Department of Transportation and Works updated five-year provincial roads plan, announced in February. The plan outlines road repairs and paving, along with bridge replacement and culverts.
Joey’s Lookout has no left-turning lane for eastbound traffic. Access is obtained by crossing a two-lane passing lane for westbound traffic. The speed limit is set at 100 km/h.
While he has stepped away from municipal politics, Grant Burry, the former mayor of New-Wes-Valley spent years advocating for a left-turning lane at the lookout.
And having since experienced a close call along this section of highway, he still maintains change is needed.
“It’s only a matter of time before someone has a bad accident, and it’s unfortunate to think that it’s going to take a life to see this matter addressed,” he said.
Two vendors operating at the lookout didn’t wish to go on record, but acknowledged there have been numerous close calls and accidents along the section of highway over the years. They were doubtful change would come soon.
Transportation and Works Minister Steve Crocker turned down an interview request with the Beacon, however, information shared in a department-issued statement indicated projects selected are based on safety issues, traffic volumes, with input from engineers and the public through a consultation last fall.
Two central projects included in the five-year plan are the upgrade and paving of Gander Bay Highway – from Straight Shore to Deadman’s Bay intersection – and the upgrade and resurfacing of various sections along the Road to the Isles – from Michael’s Harbour to Boyd’s Cove. Both are multi-year projects and slotted to begin in 2019-2020.
However, there could be wiggle room to see additional work take place.
“The plan does have flexibility that allows new projects to be added in future years to address any additional concerns as they come up,” read the statement.
While the Beacon wasn’t able to confirm the cost of placing a left-turning lane at Joey’s Lookout, Gambo mayor Dennis Lush said a town delegation was informed by minister Crocker that funding wasn’t available for the upgrade, something Lush understands.
“We have to be realistic in this time of fiscal restraint and difficult economic times,” he said. “Our council will keep government aware of the concerns regarding traffic accessing Joey’s Lookout and, hopefully, when the economic situation improves in our province, this project will be economically feasible.”
Until that happens, he reminds drivers to be more cognizant and exercise extra caution when accessing the lookout.