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Hamilton tops CAA list of worst Ontario roads for 3rd straight year, ahead of Toronto and Orillia

For the third year in a row, Hamilton has been named home to Ontario’s worst road, according to the Canadian Automobile Association’s (CAA) annual list for 2024.

Residents across the province weigh in, usually citing potholes, traffic, and poor maintenance and biking infrastructure. Cyclists and pedestrians typically make up roughly a quarter of voters. 

Aberdeen Avenue in Hamilton was named the worst road, ahead of Eglinton Avenue West in Toronto and Barton Street East in Hamilton, which topped the list last year and the year prior.

CAA spokesperson Brian Pirvu said the association worked with the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario to vet the list.

‘It’s been bad for years’

Dave Stewart, who lives near Aberdeen and regularly uses the road, told CBC Hamilton he wasn’t surprised to hear which street got the top spot.

“It’s been bad for years and every year it seems to get a little bit worse,” Stewart said.

A road with a pothole.
Aberdeen Avenue is full of potholes and cracks. Ward 1 Coun. Maureen Wilson says it will be revamped in 2026. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

Eglinton Avenue West is among five in Toronto that made the 2024 list. Country Road 49 in Prince Edward County, as well as Orillia’s Laclie Street and North Uxbridge’s Cedar Street, also are on it.

The top 10 are:

  1. Aberdeen Avenue, Hamilton.
  2. Eglinton Ave West, Toronto.
  3. Barton Street East, Hamilton.
  4. Country Road 49, Prince Edward County.
  5. Hurontario Street, Mississauga.
  6. Bloor Street West, Toronto.
  7. Cedar Street, North Uxbridge.
  8. Finch Avenue West, North York (suburban Toronto).
  9. Lake Shore Boulevard East, Toronto.
  10. Lacie Street, Orillia.

CAA has regional lists, too.

Pirvu said over 2,000 roads across 145 municipalities were nominated.

Previous CAA research shows spending one dollar on pavement preservation eliminates or delays spending $6 to $10 on repairs later on.

putting a dollar into pavement preservation can help a city avoid paying $6 to $10 later on to address issues.

What people said about the worst roads

Pirvu noted past safety concerns about Aberdeen. A 2019 city report stated the avenue’s collision rate was 4.7 per million vehicle kilometres.

The industry standard for identifying an area of concern based on collision rate is 1.0.

Pirvu said congestion, potholes and poor maintenance are among the concerns raised about Aberdeen, Barton and Eglinton Avenue West. The latter has been plagued with issues, particularly given stalled light-rail transit construction. 

Stewart said that when he walks on Aberdeen, he stays east of Queen Street because after that, the road deteriorates and there isn’t much separation from vehicles and pedestrians.

“I try to avoid it any time … the traffic is so close to you.”

He added that driving is equally bad, with too many potholes to count.

“But on the plus side, you can’t drive fast.”

Aberdeen to be revamped in 2026: councillor

CBC Hamilton contacted the City of Hamilton for comment, but the city said it wouldn’t respond until the CAA results were officially released.

Ward 1 Coun. Maureen Wilson said she expects people near Aberdeen wouldn’t be surprised to hear the results because of its “terrible condition.”

She said that in 2026, the road will be revamped. Later this year, residents will get to voice what they’d like to see about the avenue’s design.

Wilson said Hamilton and other Ontario municipalities, through provincial regulation, have to create asset management plans that list and identify the condition of all assets, like roads.

She said Hamilton’s lower city had poor or very poor conditions for many of its roads.

When there are funding shortfalls, the city can’t properly address deteriorating roads, so they keep getting worse, raising the cost to fix problems. Wilson said it becomes a “vicious cycle.”

“You’re always falling behind.”

Wilson said city council should be getting a report from staff later this year with information about how Hamilton spends its road budget and where that money has come from.

“We have a significant deficit, in terms of what our needs are for core infrastructure,” she said.

“As a community, we’re going to have a conversation about priority setting and not overtaxing property tax payers.”

Stewart said Wilson’s comments were welcome news.

He hopes something will be done soon.

“It’s awful … nightmare on Aberdeen.”

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