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County explores returning some roads to gravel

The County of Prince Edward is considering returning some surface treated roads to gravel in 2024 and beyond as part of a pilot project to provide smoother driving on some rural roads in the worst condition.

During the 2024 budget deliberations, council directed staff to prepare a report on candidate roads for returning to gravel. Council also asked staff to identify the implications this change would have on the 2025 operating and capital budgets, as well as the municipality’s asset management plan.

The municipality maintains more than 1,100 kilometres of roads and invests approximately 40 per cent of its budget on roads.

While some roads see improvement each year, there are many that are deteriorating faster than the available resources to maintain them. The goal of the pilot project is to improve the road surfaces and realize cost savings over the long term. Returning some roads to gravel will also allow staff to dedicate more time to maintaining other roads that cannot be returned to gravel.

Municipal staff have identified several roads as possible candidates for returning to gravel at some point in the future. The preliminary criteria used include traffic volume, the type of traffic on the road, the number of driveways, and maintenance requirements.

Return to gravel until future reconstruction:
Salem Road (County Road 2 to Cunningham Road)
Weese Road (County Road 3 to Pulver Road)
Carnrike Road (Link Road to Lakeside Drive)

Return to gravel permanently:
Carnrike Road (Salem Road to Link Road)
Wild Oak Lane (entire length)
Brewers Road (Royal Road to Hilltop Road)
Lighthall Road (County Road 24 to Royal Road)
Morgan Road (entire length)
Station Road (County Road 1 to end of surface treatment past Civic Address 654)
George’s Road (entire length)

The public can share feedback about this pilot project on Have Your Say. Print forms will also be available at Shire Hall and County library branches. The deadline to submit comments is Friday, June 7. Staff will incorporate the feedback into a report with recommendations for council’s consideration at the June 27 Committee of the Whole meeting.

If you have questions or require further information, contact Tanya Redden, Construction and Technical Supervisor, at tredden@pecounty.on.ca or Troy Gilmour, Director of Operational Services, at tgilmour@pecounty.on.ca

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  1. Henri Garand says:

    My road was turned to gravel seven or eight years ago. The first winter a county snowplow picked up all the gravel and sent it into the ditches. Since then, I’ve lived on a dirt road that is either dusty or muddy. Even slow traffic on a dirt/gravel road is a lot noisier than on pavement. I also wonder how much extra it is costing in vehicle wear and tear and associated maintenance. It’s certainly impossible to keep a vehicle clean. The benefits(!) of a gravel road haven’t lowered my taxes because they remain at the same rate as for those who live on paved roads.

  2. SS says:

    Per the Audited Financial Statements of the County, for the year ended Dec 31, 2022, the 9 Segments of the CAO’s office spent a total of just under $78 Million. You can see the breakdown here:

    https://www.thecounty.ca/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/2022-12-31-Prince-Edward-County-Cons-and-Trust-wFS.pdf

    … see page 30.

    How much of that $78 Million was spent on roads is unclear, but anyone who wishes to know more can ask the Treasurer, via an Action Request at this link from the County Web Page:

    https://www.thecounty.ca/residents/customer-service/

    The Action Request feature is good, in that it provides you with a tracking reference, and then allows the County to track the number and types of requests from its residents / taxpayers.

    It also allows any question to be properly routed to the appropriate Staff member(s).

    If there is no satisfactory answer, then of course there is always the option to file a Freedom of Information request. But the Action Request is a reasonable first step, if you want to have an informed discussion about spending and its appropriateness, I’d say.

  3. John Karsai says:

    We moved out here 11 years ago because PEC was agricultural/rural. Not because it was a tourist haven.
    We never expected silky smooth roads and soon realized that some roads were good and others not so good and that’s fine, we just drive at a pace commensurate with the road surface..problem solved. If some roads go back to gravel, we’ll adapt and carry on but I’m not willing to pay higher taxes to satisfy the requirements of temporary visitors to our fair County. They can take the County as they find it, or go elsewhere.

  4. Todd says:

    Good. It was a big mistake to pave the vast majority of road in The County. There are many roads that have no business being paved. We live in the county, gravel roads are just fine for many back roads.

  5. Mike Rodgers says:

    Not too long ago the mentioned roads and more were gravel and did just fine and helped to keep speeds down. The only reason these roads were paved in the first place was council was told paved roads were cheaper to maintain than gravel. So now here we are. I when travelling enjoy getting on back roads that are gravel, less traffic, slow speeds and a lot of interesting sites.

  6. angela says:

    Increasing taxes is a worse solution to the problem than gravel roads. How many of these increases are ratepayers expected to survive before home ownership for some becomes too heavy a heavy burden? People who have lived in the county for a lifetime are being driven out because they can no longer meet the costs of living in a county where common sense has gone out the window.

  7. David Thomas says:

    The county’s extensive road network is a significant asset, one that sets it apart from the many parts of rural Ontario that make do with a boring grid layout. While I completely understand the municipality’s financial challenges in maintaining these roads since provincial downloading, converting to gravel is completely at odds with the popularity of the area. But it’s misguided to completely blame increased tourism for the bad roads. We live in the south part of the county (where two of the roads slated for conversion are) and while we get a few tourists during the peak months, it’s very quiet otherwise. Like it or not, the only solution is increased taxes, since that’s the only meaningful source of municipal revenue.

  8. Alan Bertrim says:

    Yea sure, because gravel roads are so wonderful, a week after they’re graded, they become wash boarded death traps.

  9. Mike Rodgers says:

    What about Doxsee RD from Jericho RD to CR#14. It has not one driveway house or barn but is paved and plowed in winter. How could the staff miss this one. For that matter all of Doxsee because if I am not mistaken there are two driveways on the entire road.

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