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More than half of County’s roads in need of repair; plans under way

Council will examine an update on the current state of roads and a multi-year improvement program, at Thursday’s committee of the whole meeting.

Knowing the public is generally dissatisfied with conditions of roads and the County’s actions to repair them, council last fall directed staff to prepare a report on conditions and actions to repair them.

The County is responsible for 1,047 kilometres of public roads – 90 per cent rural and just under half are paved with surface treatment known as tar and chip.

“Prince Edward County has the lowest population density, but we maintain more roadways per person than all others,” said Adam Goheen, director of operations, in his report. Noting comparisons with neighbour and other single-tier municipalities, Goheen’s report states the County’s road system is more than 300 kms longer than Quinte West’s, which has the largest network, of closest neighbours.

Conditions of County roads were assessed between April and September 2020 and data passed on to Greer Galloway Consulting Engineers, who completed a draft Road Needs Study (RNS).

They were graded A to F with 39 per cent of roads receiving an A or B – typically in good condition; 38 per cent a C or D – are poor or rapidly deteriorating and need resurfacing; and 23 per cent an F – requiring full reconstruction.

Data indicates about half of the asphalt roads (178 kms) and nearly 60 per cent of surface treated roads (304 kms) require work.

Over one third of of the County’s roads are surfaced with either hot mix asphalt or concrete with the remaining unpaved, or loose top roads.

The report excludes County Road 49, the only concrete surfaced road, as it is currently being evaluated for re-surfacing, with a plan and costs to be coming to council for its 2022 budget.

Funded through the operating budget, the current annual investment for road surface maintenance is $1.9 million and $3.1 million for rural road rehabilitation. Development services is also working on a $4.3 million capital road reconstruction program.

“As the County’s road needs far exceed the historic annual investment in them, a clear plan for the prioritization of road improvement programs must be developed,” stated Goheen.

A sign asks motorists to vote for Victoria Road on CAA’s annual worst road contest. – John Ferguson photo

The road needs study offers two methods – the first prioritizing roads with more traffic, and the second, based on the number of years since last rehabilitation.

Goheen add the first approach is widely accepted, but means roads less used may wait years to be reconstructed. The second method, he said is more comprehensive, but relies on accuracy of age data entered into the system, which is categorized by surface type and treatment is based on current condition grade.

“Additional factors must be considered in the development of the priority ratings,” the report states.

Staff seek council direction on additional factors, recommended in order of highest weight:
a) In consultation with the local OPP staff, roads which represent vehicle collision hot spots where reconstruction could mitigate future risk by improved design.
b) Roads with an historic high volume of calls for emergency services, such as the fire department, where reconstruction would result in significantly reduced response time and wear on the apparatus.
c) Roads within serviced areas having the need for underground water and wastewater infrastructure renewal.
d) Roads having drainage systems with condition or capacity issues, where reconstruction would alleviate accelerated deterioration of the road and the potential for flooding or assist in the management of climate change impacts.
e) Roads where upgrade would result in increased local benefit, such as low volume rural roads with a higher density of properties/driveways.
f) Roads subject to recommended improvements via transportation planning documents such as Transportation and Cycling Master Plans, upon their approval by council.
g) Rural roads with a significant commercial, industrial or agricultural land use.
h) Roads with a high percentage of large or heavy vehicle traffic.
i) Roads which support area growth, tourism, or where upgrade would provide a regional benefit.

For future consideration, new municipal software being implemented to modernize planning and reporting, would use data to track maintenance, life-cycles and help inform future budget planning.

“While road assessments were required to inform the new road needs study, the data represents and snapshot in time,” states Goheen. “Road conditions change with time and the rate of change becomes more rapid with worsening condition.” Mobile scanning and traffic counting devices will be investigated.

Committee of the Whole is being asked to direct staff to develop a multi-year program based on prioritization factors and financial plan for consideration in the 2022 capital budget.

 

 

 

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  1. Mike Rodgers says:

    The Salmon Pt camp ground expansion will add fuel to the already burning out of control fire.

  2. Susan says:

    Too many roads not enough taxpayer dollars. They can roll this around for the upteenth time, the bottom line is that we cannot support our road needs. 2 million a year is a drop in the bucket. They need to accept and communicate that they cannot reasonably repair our roads.

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