Residents complain about quality of Paugh Lake Road rehabilitation

In the past few weeks The Current has received several complaints from Paugh Lake Road residents and users criticizing the quality of the resurfacing work. (Photo Facebook/Madawaska Valley) These included an email from an individual who said he had experience in such work stating the following:

“I have been involved in road construction and re-construction work for over 35 years and I have never experienced such poor quality workmanship or lack of disregard for municipal, county and provincial  specifications. 

  • Asphalt work under cold conditions never produces a quality job. The contractor was forced to pave due to impending weather at the end of the construction season.
  • This project scope of work should have been completed in about 12 weeks by a qualified and competent crew. Not the almost 18 months of disruptions to local residents and Town staff who fielded the complaints about the road conditions throughout the prolonged duration.
  • Under the OPSS and OPSD specifications, top coarse paving should not commence unless temperatures are +7*C and rising. Temperatures during this job some days were -5 C and never reached +7*C. The contractor scraped snow from frozen roads to lay asphalt. 
  • The asphalt plant used by this contractor was in the Pembroke area and was well over an hour away by truck, causing the asphalt to cool in the box of the trucks, this caused cold asphalt sections and surface defects in the “Matt” like segregation and or bumps.  Drive the road, it’s like a wash board surface. 
  • Paving in cold conditions is normally supervised full time during paving operations by a qualified Geotechnical engineer to monitor asphalt temperatures, sampling/testing and compaction testing, and document site conditions, none was observed onsite, If so, let’s see that documentation?
  • Long sections were paved forward (up to a km) before the equipment backed up to pull the other lane, causing “cold joints” which causes longitudinal cracking or opening up along the joint. Asphalt resurfacing projects similar to this, owners expect to get a 20-25 year service life of the pavement, I would think the life cycle of this project would be half this. 

The deficiencies are already visible in the entire 10km section of the project, very disappointing. Let’s hope the municipality have not released all of the funds to cover repairs or replacement/repaving of the road. 

Has the municipality hired an outside firm to conduct a full assessment of the asphalt surface, including cores of the road to verify thickness and full asphalt marshall mix design testing/analysis by a 3rd party qualified laboratory?  This reporting should verify that the asphalt material meets the project specifications noted in the contract.

On February 9, 2021 The Current contacted Madawaska Valley Operations Manager Hilary Kutchkoskie, as well as Councillor Carl Bromwich who chairs the Operations Committee, notifying them of these complaints. We received a same day reply from Kutchkoskie saying he was in communication with the engineers and would bring a report to Council.

If any other users of Paugh Lake Road have observations to make, they should forward them direct to Kutchkoskie.


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  2. Jason Brotton

    It’s a shame that our tax dollars paid for such shoddy work. So many people have been pulling over just outside of town to check if they have a flat tire as the road is so bad. No way that this road will last even a few years. It was left for over a month and then rushed to get it finished. I certainly hope that our township will hold the company accountable and make them repair it to standard, on their dime.

  3. Dan Olshen

    Kudos to the observations of the “Concerned Resident who we sorely need more of in the MV versus the “Salem type” witch hunters” who were stirred into action to leave their homes in the lockdown and confront, photograph and interrogate some minor student protest last Sunday. Kiddos to the duo of Mayor Love and Councilor Bromwich who were the Governance body monitoring the $3 M Paugh Lake Road Project. One saw them several times in photo-ops congratulating themselves and the contractor on what a good job was realized by all (LOL).
    One does not expect the Mayor to have competency in Road Construction but to nominate the best candidate to fulfil this role in Council. IMO: Bromowich should have been the Chair of the *Waste Disposal Committee* and one of the 3 stalwarts on Council delegated to head the singularly most important Committee on Council. This project was more than 50% of the total Road budget ($6 M) for 2020 and demanded the most exact attention by the professional competent authorities and outside engineering consultants (N.B. – at arm’s length from the contractor).
    On a personal note, I took a Master’s Course in “Pavement Design” and can attest that the field operations and resultant work as reported in the analysis by the concerned resident would not have been accepted in any domain I was engaged with (except in an emergency – like a washout). But hey this is only the MV, and mediocrity is the haze by- product and the Life Cycle (LC) and QA and QC for defective work will be passed onto the beleaguered taxpayer as the LCC for this road project will be awfully expensive and imminent (5 vs. 20 years).
    One cannot expect the very competent Road Super i.e., Kutchkoskie to monitor the construction phase of the Paugh Lake Road but he should have been given sufficient resources to engage competent authorities to report to him and engage a lab to do an asphalt & QC analysis of the placement pavement. I drove down the Paugh Lake Road several times this summer and fall and can attest this was the singular most disruptive and dangerous road work in a public setting I have witnessed for a long time, and to which one’s vehicle had been subjected to. It would be refreshing to see other engaged readers comment on this road work as well since we will all use it on occasion.

  4. Gerard Kuiack

    The Township got taken on this paving job, What a joke. Carl and Hillary don’t have to wait for complaints to come in about this paving job, all they have to do is take a ride down this road to feel the wash board.

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