Portage la Prairie may not have settled itself in the Top Ten worst roads of the recent CAA campaign, but it did place high in the Central Plains which is divided into regions.

CAA Manitoba manager of Government and Community Relations Ewald Friesen says Brandon's 18th St. made their number one spot, but they also categorize regions, and ours included the following.

"Our number one spot for your region is Provincial Hwy. 26 through St. François Xavier. Our Number two spot goes to Lorne Avenue East in Portage la Prairie. Our number three spot Lorne Ave. West. Number four spot is 9th St. SE, and finally the fifth-place spot in the region is Provincial Road 240."

lORNELorne Ave. W

He notes CAA saw many people in our region participate in the campaign.

"We're very pleased to see that. As a matter of fact, out of 137 municipalities in the province, we had 71 municipalities participating in our campaign nominating 486 different roads. There's obviously a lot of discontent. There's a lot of frustration out there. This is confirmed in the surveys that we have done. We did one in January and we asked Manitobans how concerned they are, if at all, about the state of our roads. 96 per cent came back and said that they were very, very concerned."

Friesen explains the program seeks to provide a snapshot of where these worst roads are and what Manitobans are feeling about them. They then generally address the problem of the frustration. 

"Oftentimes, what folks do is they'll be driving to work or something and they'll hit some potholes or find a bad road. They'll complain to their partner, their coworker, or even their mechanic. And this doesn't really make it to the people who are in the position to do something about it. So, we decided, 'Let's get this campaign going and take these frustrations to the people who are in a position to prioritize the road infrastructure.'"

He adds that numbers of submissions is increasing yearly in a clear upward trend. Friesen notes many of the roads that they see are usual suspects. 

"For instance, six of our Top Ten this year were roads that we've seen before, even in the case of our number one spot, Brandon's 18th St. We first saw it in 2022, then we saw it again in 2023 moved up a couple of spots. By this year, they had taken the number one spot. So, we're watching these streets as they climb."

Friesen says the campaign began 13 years ago to hold governments accountable and help with roads. 

"It's really worked out well. There's been quite a lot of attention about this campaign so far, and this year was something of an inflection point. In that survey, we asked how many Manitobans have had vehicle damage due to a bad road and a staggering 54 per cent of Manitobans said that their car or truck had been damaged because of bad roads. That's eyebrow-raising in and of itself. But what we learned in addition to that was 70 per cent of those folks who had their vehicles damaged, made the repairs to their car out of pocket rather than going through MPI to make it. Naturally, this leads us to a question, 'Well, how much should you have to pay out of pocket to get your car repaired?' And the average amount was $962. I just wonder how many Manitoba and families, given that budgets are generally that stretched these days for a number of reasons, were all that happy to shell out nearly $1,000 for vehicle repair due to poor roads."

rd 26Provincial Road 26

He adds their efforts have paid off and says many roads on their list have become prioritized by governments. For instance, their number one road in Winnipeg last year, Goulet Street, saw the City of Winnipeg Crews fixing it up on the very day of their reveal. 

"This is also true for Hwy. 75 out in Morris. The province announced a $61 million investment to resurface Hwy. 44, which connects to our last year's worst road, 307 Highway; a 4,4,412-kilometre stretch of it, has been fixed. Taylor Ave. also here in Winnipeg, has been a usual suspect and now it's not on the list at all. One of my favourites is St. James. It was routinely on our Top Ten list, and now it's nowhere to be found, so we know governments are listening to it. Moreover, recently Mayor Scott Gillingham and Council released their first budget and it was a spending budget; a taxing budget. They saw a 3.5 per cent property tax increase, and 2 per cent of which will be dedicated to road repair maintenance and road safety initiatives."

Click below to see the worst road in the Province: