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Mayor wants to know financial impacts of Skyway Bridge options

If the numbers support it, a brand new Quinte Skyway Bridge is the preference Prince Edward County mayor Robert Quaiff pitched at the annual Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference in Windsor earlier this week.

Quaiff, along with councillors Kevin Gale, Bill Roberts, Roy Pennell and Brad Nieman and CAO James Hepburn met with MTO Minister Steven Del Duca to discuss necessary construction of the bridge, which links the County and Tyendinaga Territory.

The mayor doesn’t want to see the bridge closed for any extended period of time – a great inconvenience to daily users and an ecomonic loss to the County and Tyendinaga.

“We met Minister Del Duca and asked for consideration of a new bridge and we’d like to see an actuarial specialist hired to look at the impact of financial losses to PEC businesses,” Quaiff said. “I’m told the cost could be $65 million now and a new bridge perhaps $100 million, but at what loss would that come to the County businesses and tourism such as the Sandbanks?” the mayor said. “We need to know.”

A 2011 MTO study says the 50-year-old bridge has substantial deterioration to the deck, piers, steel girders and does not conform to modern design standards including shoulder width and traffic barriers.

With estimates ranging from $45 million to $65 million to upgrade the existing structure, Quaiff said accurate numbers on the financial impact might reveal a new bridge is the best choice.

The County delegation highlighted Sandbanks Provincial Park alone gets some 700,000 visitors – most of whom travel over that bridge.

Public meetings were held this week showing the MTO’s five options – including replacement, and complete closure for a two to three-year period and various lane closure alternatives. The entire cost is to be borne by the provincial government.

Quaiff, a vocal advocate for the improvement of Highway 49, would also be pleased to see the highway upgraded at the same time to avoid further disruption over the years.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Hildagard says:

    The officials at the meeting Wednesday night came right out and said NO new bridge! The reason was: ” too expensive”! The one official practically laughed in my face when I said the best option would be building a new bridge! He said the cost was far too much to totally replace the bridge. He said the bridge will not be totally closed for 2-3 years. Then why list that as one of their options as well as a new bridge as an option??!! It certainly seemed like they had already made up their mind as to what was going to take place.
    Don’t kid yourself about the Quebec traffic heading to the Sandbanks! I’m sure there are a lot more Quebecers travelling to the County than Torontonians! Go sit on 49 for a few hours and check it out! Just look at the Quebec licence plates in downtown Picton on any given day!

  2. hockeynan says:

    It would be very inconvenient to ship grain and cement out of the county if they closed the bridge.The only rought they could take is through Belleville and what a pain that would be

  3. wilson says:

    If most of the 700,000 Sandbank visitors travel over the bridge then why not make highway 49 a toll road?? County residents flash a residential card and get through for free. Lots of money could be made!!!

  4. County resident says:

    Highway 49 crossing is a major crossing. Sure those coming from the GTA won’t use it, however those working in Napanee, Kingston and tourists coming from Quebec, Ottawa and other regions east of us do!

    If a full closure does occur you can basically kiss the good work that has happened goodbye.

  5. Fred says:

    I agree. All of the Toronto visitors do not travel all the way down to 49 to exit. I would be surprised if 49 carried half of the visitors to the water poor County.

  6. Snowman says:

    Most of the 700,000 people who visit Sandbanks travel over that bridge?? I would doubt that statement. Not with 3 other major highways leading into the County.
    And repair the road at the same time as the Bridge?
    You would turn a 25 minute drive into 2 hrs!
    Tell us Mayor: You didn’t float that idea to MTO did you?

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