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County Road 49 repair could be set for next step

The next step toward the rehabilitation of County Road 49 would be under way with approval of a $134,460 contract for design services with Jewell Engineering.

The contract was to come before council at its Committee of the Whole meeting Thursday with final approval at its next regular meeting. However, a meeting fraught with audio and technical difficulty rendered the live stream motionless.

The outcome of the design services contract is to be an option for a phased construction plan, with segments reflecting annual budget stipulations and logical construction break points.

The contract does not include tendering services as there is currently no construction budget and it is
unknown when the project may be tendered. However, the completed design and tender-ready documents position the project as construction-ready for any immediate provincial or federal funding opportunities.

A non-construction budget of $396,600 includes design services, a Soils Management Plan, legal survey, additional geotechnical investigation (if required) that must also be completed in addition to the scope of work identified in the design services.

Five proposals to the RFP were received. The highest scoring proposal was not recommended as it was over budget. Jewell’s, the second highest scoring proposal, was within budget.

The RFP specified that during the preliminary design phase the successful consultant would evaluate the two rehabilitation options (Hot Mix Asphalt and Portland Cement Concrete) currently being considered by the County. It was to include a cost estimate as well as the advantages and disadvantages associated with each option before providing a final recommendation for consideration.

In the 2018 forecast, the cost to rehabilitate County Road 49 was estimated at more than $21 million. The Ministry of Transportation has suggested the County prepare the many assessment to support any future provincial and federal funding applications.

County Road 49 was originally constructed in the 1950s by the Ontario Ministry of Transporation as a rigid concrete roadway approximately 17km. In 1998 the then Highway 49 was downloaded by the government, to the County.

“It has undergone numerous patch, spot and joint repairs; and although these measures have prolonged the life of the road, County Road 49 can no longer be adequately repaired by these measures,” said Garrett Osborne, project manager, in his report to council. “The surface defects include severe joint failures, severe longitudinal and meandering cracking, severe transverse cracking and severe polishing of the surface.”

In July 2017, Associated Engineering was retained by the County ($77,625) to complete a Road Condition Assessment and determine possible rehabilitation options. That study concluded the road be replaced in the immediate future by rubbilizing the existing concrete pavement and replacing with hot mix asphalt, or cement concrete. It noted analysis in the detailed design stage would determine the most cost-effective option.

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  1. Ian Macpherson says:


    The County should call for tenders, issue a 30-year bond to cover the cost and sign a contract.

    Why has this been an issue for 30+ years?

  2. Kevin says:

    Drive it everyday and witnessed reckless dangerous driving in all seasons. Particularly, the lines which are barely visible, and in winter becomes treacherous – large trucks driving too fast, crossing the line with no regard to other motorists. Repair and ownership need to be addressed, but so too must the heavy trucks using it, contributing to it’s deterioration at a rapid pace, and the user cost. Let’s get it right this time. The current usage plan needs to change. It seems currently that large trucks/companies/trailers want to use it, however we are expected to pay for it. Why fix it if they’re going to keep destroying it at rapid pace?

  3. Mark says:

    The 1998 Harris Government acted in bad faith in their downloading of 49 ending it’s highway designation in the County. They sent it to the County taxpayer (I think with around 800k maintenance funds) knowing full well this road would require millions to replace in the near future. That was unfair and needs correction. Few if any small municipalities have the capability to fund an estimated $22,000,000 re-construction. To add insult to injury, once you cross the bridge north you have a pristine Hwy 49 thru gasoline, cigarette and pot shops which the government gains nothing from.

  4. Irene Harris says:

    I agree with Mark’s comments. County road 49 should go back to being a Provincial Highway, and maintained the same way Hwy 49 north of the Skyway Bridge (through Tyendinaga) has been maintained, the section of Highway 49 which was not downloaded. It was the Conservative Provincial Government (under Mike Harris) who did this unfair downloading. It has proven to be a huge mistake. It’s time for the current Provincial government to correct this mistake and re-designate it as a Provincial highway.

    Making the problem worse, since the Picton Terminals got started, the number of huge , heavy trucks,has increased. Some speed down the bridge and keep the speed up, trying to get up the next hill. I’ve seen many of them pass us at high speeds as we try to turn right onto Northport Road, or tailgate cars who are doing the speed limit. County Council is fixing this by enshrining the Picton Terminals in our new Official Plan, with no thought to the effect on County road 49. Not only has this County road become a dangerous road to drive, when its Skyway bridge is finished there will be no lane for pedestrians and bike riders .

    It’s urgent for our MPP, Todd Smith, and his Government to respond to this fiasco, in the making for the past 20 odd years. MTO needs to: take back County Road 49; make it a highway built for large trucks and cars; add a lane for bikes and pedestrians and continue a lane for pedestrians and bikers on the Skyway Bridge. (They can do this by hanging a shelf off of the side). It would also be good for County Council to pay some attention to this corner of the County which has become a not so pretty gateway onto our lovely Island. Surely our future generations deserve all of this to be fixed.

  5. Mark says:

    I strongly believe that there should be a strong organized push to have 49 designated as a Provincial Highway once again. It had reached it’s life expectancy when it was dumped on us.It should never have been downloaded to the County in 1998. The Province gains substantially from all the tourist traffic on this major entry artery.

  6. KB says:

    Yes, I agree the increase in traffic is not just domestic vehicles, but also large trailers, transports and definitely aggregate trucks, aside from the normal amount from the cement plant. The driving conditions are treacherous and the trucks routinely cross the line and drive way too fast. During winter when road conditions are bad, this is just simply put – dangerous. I hope the council will consider addressing these concerns – it’s not fair that tax payors flip the bill while companies continue to take advantage of the road while destroying it.

  7. Mike Rodgers says:

    The extra cost of concrete will be paid back two fold. 49 is the main artery for everything shipped in and out of Prince Edward.

  8. Dennis Fox says:

    Concrete is no doubt the more durable surface, but it cost a lot more too – so what are the odds of finding the money? Also, the tire noise on concrete is much greater – I doubt that those living on 49 would appreciate it. Just saying!

  9. Ian Macpherson says:

    As an ex-County resident, I recognized the same concrete surface as Highway 49, but here in Nova Scotia on a section of Highway 101 running north near Upper Sackville.

    In the two years we have lived here, they… I’m not sure how to explain this… fixed it?

  10. JennyD says:

    I agree whole heartedly with Mike on this. I would go even further to suggest the company(ies) using this road as a major artery to float their aggregate pick up some of the cost. Unload something from tax payors and show some responsibility. The road is deteriorating at a faster pace since the increases in aggregate trucks.

  11. Mike Rodgers says:

    Concrete would be the most durable when you consider the present amount of traffic and the possible increase from the terminal in the future.

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