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‘Enough is enough’: County calls governments and maybe community to fix Cty Rd 49

The average weekly cost of patch repairs, including material, equipment, vehicles and staffing is approximately $3,500 or $182,000 annually. – Google maps image

The County is calling on the federal and provincial governments to step up and support the rehabilitation of a crumbling, pot-hole-filled County Road 49 – and is considering seeking help from business and community.

“The deterioration of this critical road has gone on for too long; enough is enough,” said Mayor Steve Ferguson at a media gathering on the highway Wednesday morning. “The condition of the road has been an election issue during multiple campaigns and people want it fixed.

“Now is the time for the upper-levels of government to join us at the table.”

Ferguson states the County has done everything it can to move this project forward and it is shovel-ready. The County has invested in a feasibility study ($153,074) and a design study ($178,849) to ensure this project is ready for tendering should funding from upper levels of government become available.

County Road 49 has severe joint and slab failures, cracking, and polishing of the surface. The average weekly cost of patch repairs, including material, equipment, vehicles and staffing is approximately $3,500 or $182,000 annually.

Opened in 1966, the road spans 18.6 kilometres, (17.5 kilometres of which is concrete pavement). The road connects Picton with the Bay of Quinte Skyway Bridge, one of the most popular entry-points into the County. The province of Ontario downloaded the roadway to the County in 1998 during amalgamation.

The road sees average daily traffic volumes of approximately 6,000 vehicles, and five per cent of that total is heavy truck traffic. The County expects that traffic will increase significantly in the next decade with new development and the completion of the Bay of Quinte Skyway Bridge rehabilitation.

Sandbanks Provincial Park welcomes more than 800,000 visitors a year, with a strong contingent coming from
areas in the east (Montreal and Ottawa areas) and using County Road 49.

The County is seeking an equal cost-sharing agreement with the upper levels of government similar to other large-scale infrastructure projects. To strategize and advocate for the rehabilitation, County council created the County Road 49 Working Group based on a motion put forward by councillor Chris Braney during the 2023 budget deliberations. Mayor Ferguson and councillors Braney, David Harrison, Brad Nieman, and Phil St-Jean are on the working group.

Among the ideas being considered by the group is a community benefit fund to support the rehabilitation of County Road 49. Through the fund, the municipality would seek financial partners to demonstrate leadership and join in financing the community share of this $29.5 million project.

“We want to send a clear message to the federal and provincial governments that this community is serious about fixing County Road 49 as quickly as possible,” councillor Braney said. “This road is too important to the economic well-being and future of our community for it to go to waste any longer.”

The road frequently makes CAA’s annual Worst Roads list, receiving the dubious distinction as the worst road in Ontario in 2016.

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  1. JennyD says:

    The highway is a result of bad politics from the provincial government downloading of this road over 20 years ago. Yes as the gate keepers to some of the largest tourist points including sandbanks, the province should take this back….the large chunks of concrete laying around are going to cause sever injury or death…it’s only a matter of time

  2. Mike Rodgers says:

    Carolyn – The cement plant pays a very large tax bill each year. On a good day with cement shipments and other deliveries there may be 40 trucks going to and from the cement plant. On average it would be more like 10 to 15 per day. Picton Terminals has more than that each day, Millers quarry also has a lot of trucks. Then you look at the businesses that have deliveries. Should they all chip in? The problem was when the County was forced to take this highway over. If you consider its age it is in pretty good shape for having no maintenance done to it. Can you imagine if it had been asphalt. Lets just hope when 49 is replaced it will be with concrete not asphalt or we will be redoing 49 within 5 years.

  3. Paul D Cole says:

    Tyendinaga is a territory that falls under the “Indian Act” the Federal Government basically pays the Provincial government to maintain the roads on a “reserve”, no taxes are collected on Indigenous Territories.

  4. Okwáho says:

    Bruce “start collecting tolls at all entries to the county.” Does that mean Tyendinaga and Belleville should setup toll booths? I’m all for getting it fixed, but setting up toll booths will only hurt more than actually address the issue. Agree with asking the cement plant to chip in or provide the cement for the road. Putting up toll booths just isn’t the answer.

  5. Gary says:

    County residents don’t need to cough up 10 Million to fund the SandBanks Park major entry point. This is on the Provincial Government bigtime.And curious why did Tyendinaga’s 49 not get downloaded?

  6. Fred says:

    So why does Tyendinaga get a Provincial Highway and the County gets downloaded a deteriorating 26 kilometer stretch that no small Municipality could afford to repair. I do not agree with County taxpayers having to come up with one third, $10,000,000 plus for something dumped on us by Mike Harris. It’s the wrong approach. The Province needs to right their wrong.

  7. Paul D Cole says:

    Dan makes a very valid point especially when councilor St. Jean said this at a council meeting “We have chronically underfunded our road system for decades,” . County councils past and present have failed to address the issue there has been a lot of talk but no action. Guess we’ll see what happens…

  8. Earl Daniel Munroe says:

    Michelle you are on point with your comment. This is indeed a provincial highway. This is another down load from the Harris years that should never have occured.Where is Todd Smith;
    he is the man that represents us. He is our voice at Queens Park.It is time for Todd and the Ontario Government to do what is right and address this matter. Our Counsellors have a lot of other items needing attention.

  9. nelson says:

    tolls to get into the county?
    how about tolls to get off your island?
    be careful what you wish for.

    if Toronto can’t toll the DVP and Gardiner, there is no way on Allah’s green earth the province would let you toll the bridges and ferry. Raise some taxes.

  10. David Thomas says:

    If Mayor Ferguson can bring closure to this long-standing infrastructure issue, it will be a real testament to his leadership. When the road repair budget for the entire county is $3M per year, it’s pretty clear that it can’t fund the project alone.

    As an aside, I just received my tax bill: 10% higher than last year, with no change in appraisal value. That’s a way higher increase than it should be, even with the high inflation we’ve briefly experienced.

  11. Michelle says:

    Interestingly enough Tyendinaga does not have an issue with 49 as their portion remains a Provincial Highway. County Rd 49 formerly Highway 49 is a major gateway to the County and the Provincial Park. This should never have been downloaded to the County and the Province should step up and re-establish the Highway status. That’s where pressure needs to be placed.

  12. SS says:

    Regarding Bruce Hennessy’s suggestion, technology is readily available that would make this possible. The 407 has been doing this for years. And toll exemptions can easily be done for people who live and work in the County — also very easy with technology.

    This would not only address the Hwy 49 issue to some degree, but it would also help the County deal with the fact that the largest part of the load (and resulting damage) on all of our roads is exerted by non-County residents.

  13. Carolyn Britton says:

    Considering most of the damage starts and stops at cement plant have them chip in! It is a cement road?

  14. Bruce Hennessy says:

    start collecting tolls at all entries to the county

  15. Chuck says:

    The problem I see if a deal is attainanble, is that 29.5 Million is probably not a current price. So setting that out there prior to tender sets County residents at risk for the over costs. Quite simply the project should be a Provincial Highway to begin with!

  16. Dan says:

    I can’t fathom how the county has owned this road for 25 years and has not anticipated the cost associated with its lifespan. This problem is owned by 25 years of successive councils who have not addressed the problem.

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