Photo: Big Land Films
The Trans-Labrador Highway is one of the most remote outposts of eastern North America, a remote stretch of gravel road that beckons the adventurous. Now, it might be getting more accessible – in an adventurous way.
Currently, to ride the Trans-Lab, you have a choice: You can reach it from the south, via Quebec, or from the east, via a ferry from Newfoundland. Many riders opt to ride it only in one direction, so they enter from Quebec and leave via Newfoundland, or vice versa. That leaves riders at the mercy of ferry schedules (and the fares aren’t cheap either).
However, the provincial government of Quebec is now said to be working on a new road that could change all that. Currently, riders can reach the Trans-Lab on Rt. 389, that enters Labrador near Labrador City. At the other end of the route through the Big Country, riders are spit out from Labrador on Rt. 510, then ride Quebec’s Rt. 138 for a few klicks before they reach the ferry to Newfoundland.
Now, there’s talk of an ATV trail that will make it possible for adventure riders to bypass Newfoundland entirely.
For a few years, the Quebec government has supposedly working on an extension of Rt. 138 that will join the southern section that ends in the town of Kegashka with the northern section that ends in Vieux-Fort. In other words, riders should be able to enter Labrador via Rt. 389, and leave via Rt. 138, or vice-versa.
Details are sketchy on the plan. There are hundreds of kilometres of swampy wilderness to be conquered for the Rt. 138 extension to become a reality, which means it won’t be completed anytime soon; this is a multi-year project. And given Quebec’s corruption-skewed construction industry, funding is sure to become an issue at some point. In fact, there’s gossip that the funds to do this project were set aside before, but were diverted through a scam.
However, before the asphalt road is completed, there’s talk that an ATV trail will be completed first, connecting the two sections of Rt. 138 – an ATV trail that should be open to motorcyclists with the proper licences, thanks to Quebec’s trail-sharing plan.
Supposedly, locals are already being hired to work on the trail, according to rumours we’ve heard through Advrider.com. If it’s true, and the trail will actually be completed, that’s fantastic news. It means adventure riders will be able to add hundreds of kilometres of remote gravel road to their trip, instead of riding asphalt through Newfoundland and worrying about ferries. And the riders who have moaned about the increasing amount of asphalt on the Trans-Lab can stop whining, if the news is true – they’ll have hundreds of extra klicks of gravel added to their trip, if they choose to do the loop through Quebec.