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MPP Smith brings Minister of Transportation to see County’s road priorities

PEC OPP detachment commander Staff Sgt. John Hatch and Mayor Steve Ferguson shared their ideas for safety improvements at the intersection of Hwy 62 and County Rd. 1 with Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith and Minister of Transporation Caroline Mulroney

County Road 49, the top of the town hill in Picton and the intersection at County Road 1 and Hwy 62 were three of several transportation priorities here that had in-person provincial ministry eyes Friday.

Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith welcomed Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney on a tour of the riding to see progress of provincially-funded projects, and to learn more about transportation priorities in two local municipalities.

“I find that sometimes it really helps to have a minister on the ground in the riding to see the challenges firsthand and discuss how our government can help municipalities meet their needs,” said Smith. “This knowledge will be useful as the Ministry of Transportation plans its future programming.”

Mulroney said that “When it comes to investing in Ontario’s transportation network, our government knows that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. We work closely with our municipal partners across the province as we deliver the critical projects that will meet communities’ needs for years to come.”

Friday morning, the ministers started their day on a bus tour in Belleville to highlight route expansion and six new buses purchased to support service expansion to the North East Industrial Park area through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. The trip included visits to new active transportation infrastructure along the Moira River.

Mayor Mitch Panciuk and city officials also discussed the safety of Hwy 401 interchanges and the need for an additional off-ramp, known as the Belleville East Arterial Route (BEAR) to divert industrial traffic away from residential and commercial areas along Cannifton Road as well as the future site of the Quinte Exhibition.

The group also met at the top of the town hill downtown Picton

Next, they travelled into Prince Edward County via a bumpy County 49 to meet local officials at the town hill to learn more about how the County intends to improve safety via a provincial Connecting Links grant of up to $266,844.

Following, Mayor Steve Ferguson and local OPP detachment commander Staff Sgt. John Hatch shared their ideas for safety improvements at the intersection of Hwy 62 and County Rd. 1.

Mayor Ferguson noted it was a quick but productive visit and tour of some County ‘problem’ roads and intersections.

“Thankfully, traffic was fairly steady at all three locations that underscored the immediate need to rebuild County Road 49; to deal with traffic and pedestrian safety in Picton; and to realign and build a roundabout at the intersection of 62/1 to avert motor vehicle collisions, injuries and fatalities.”

He was pleased to have the opportunity for further dialogue.

“We have enjoyed fruitful conversations with Minister Mulroney during delegation meetings at past municipal conferences about longstanding issues that we have been working to address. We are grateful she took the time to continue those conversations here today in Prince Edward County,” said Ferguson.

“It is my hope that after travelling County Rd. 49 Minister Mulroney better understands the current state of the road and the importance of provincial funding to move the rehabilitation project forward. Although I have brought these issues to Minister Mulroney’s attention at various conferences or in Zoom meetings, that in no way compares to seeing them in person on site.

“I reminded the minister that we are effectively “shovel ready” to begin work on County Road 49 when provincial funding becomes available. Also, she now has a much greater appreciation of the challenges at the other two locations. In her words, “It’s one thing to see these issues on paper, quite another to witness the activity. I get it.”

Mayor Ferguson said the County will continue to press these issues forward with the minister, but he thanked the two for visiting in person.

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