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LATEST NEWS  Roadbuilding

March 18, 2005

Program will cost up to $150,000

Campaign will identify worst part of highway

CANCUN, Mexico

The roadbuilders and heavy construction council of the Canadian Construction Association (CCA) plans to launch a national “worst highways” campaign to gain public input and feedback on the state of the national highway system.

“This is probably the biggest objective that we have set for 2005,” said council chair Lloyd Ferguson.

The council has had some preliminary discussions with the Ontario Road Builders’ Association (ORBA) and the Canadian Automobile Association about the initiative.

As currently envisaged, the campaign would entail having Canadians nominate the worst stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway.

The council expects to spend between $100,000 and $150,000 on the program.

Ferguson said the idea is to use Ontario’s worst municipal roads campaign as a model and to retain the right media consultant to garner coverage from the national press.

ORBA executive director Rob Bradford said the key ingredients for success are a good media consultant, active coalition partners, a “good and fast” Web site that allows for in-house content management and a network of regional spokespersons.

Rob Bradford

Non-roads partners are essential to provide a road-user focus, Bradford told a meeting during the CCA’s annual conference.

“They have to be your upfront spokespeople,” he said.

ORBA’s partners in the venture are not involved financially.

The www.worstroads.ca Web site allows the public to vote, leave comments, e-mail mayors and fill-out a roads opinion survey, among other functions.

At the national level, Bradford suggested that each provincial roadbuilders’ association could set up a network of spokespersons and manage a provincial program.

“Fall is good (for a launch),” he said. “Summer is bad.”

Bradford said a six-to-eight-week campaign would be optimal. The top 20 worst highways in Canada could be identified, along with the top 10 in each province.

“For $150,000, you could do this up like Christmas,” he said. “But I think you could do this for $100,000.”

ORBA expects to kick off its 2005 campaign in September or October.

—Patricia Williams

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