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Municipality heading down the road to start fixing them

It is no surprise to County council, or residents, to hear the municipality’s roads are deteriorating faster than resources can maintain. Following reports received at Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, the municipality will seek the public’s opinion on expectations roads .

“In 2019, the replacement costs to improve road conditions from ‘poor’ and ‘fair’ to ‘good’ are estimated to be over $163 million,” stated John Gooding, Development Co-ordinator, in a report to council on the results of the 2019 Roads Needs Study. “To put this in context, the County’s annual operating levy over all is $40.3 million.”

A report was also received at the meeting with considerations for County Road 49 – resulting in two options: rubblize and replace with hot mix asphalt pavement at an estimated cost of $18.3 million; and rubblize and replace with Portland cement concrete pavement with an estimated cost of $23 million.

The County had retained Associated Engineering Ont., services in July 2017 and received a report in January 2019 with options. The first step toward County 49 rehabilition is surveys and detailed design for the entire road to form a construction phasing plan. The plan, it was noted, is best to have in place to meet any “shovel ready” funding that could come available from upper level governments.

Council approved authorization to issue a Request for Proposal estimated at between $300-$400,000 which could be paid for from the ‘generic roads’ portion of the 2020 approved capital budget, if approved by council. It moves forward to the March 24 regular council meeting to be offically approved.

Mayor Steve Ferguson also noted a meeting with the ministry is in the works and could come up in April.

“We’re going hat in hand to the province to fund all or part and need to be in a strong position… ready, to close the deal… agree to funding.”

As County 49 is not the only, or worst road, staff recommend wider public consultation on service expectations for all roads, to help create a multi-year capial roads plan and future investments.

For work proposed in 2020, the Rural Road Needs report shows $4.2 million in spending from approved budgets.

To address poor roads, Gooding states rural road preventative maintenance and low-cost reconstruction solutions are being recommended until asset management tools and strategies can be incorporated into future roads studies. Road work in 2020 in urban centres would mostly be tied to projects underway and with other underground infrastructure projects.

Staff recommends public consultation to best align local needs with road infrastructure that can been sustainably maintained, and meet technical, regulatory and safety requirements.

Council was also asked to implement the 2020 road improvements outlined in the report using the ‘generic roads’ and ‘road surface treatment’ funds approved in this year’s budget.

County staff evaluated road sections in the summer of 2019 – all roads were driven and rated based on ride comfort and physical distress characteristics and recorded in one kilometer sections. Where available, most recent traffic volume counts were used and roads were separated into ‘rural’ and ‘urban’.

Results were also regrouped into complete road sections to all staff to identify road stretches ‘poor’ or ‘fair’ which could be rehabilitated within a single project.

County engineering and operations staff revisited the data to identify potential areas where costs could be reduced. Rural rehabilitation costs dropped to $77,032,850 from $131,018,095 by placing a greater emphasis on surface treatment, micro surfacing, slurry seals, etc., that preserve and extend current roads.

In the list of projects for 2020, recommended road sections for rehabilitation do not follow the priority sequence on the roads needs study as some sections cannot be rehabilitated, and require full reconstruction. Gooding’s report noted this means some roads may be reconstructed using surface treatment as opposed to asphalt.

Following lengthy discussion, Mayor Ferguson congratulated council and the CAO for extensive work creating a comprehensive list that addresses what road, how and when and “is a terrific model to use for future years going forward.”

Click here for the 22-page Rural Road Needs Study data.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Vic Alyea says:

    I have lived on a former “gravel”sideroad in
    Hillier all of my 73 years. I was on Hillier Township council back in the late 70s to early 80s when nearly all of our 100plus km of Hillier sideroads were gravel or “so-called” gravel. Each township, now called a ward, had to have at least one grader and one operator to run it.As I recall graders were quite expensive to buy and to maintain.Then there are the wages and benefits for the person to operate it. No doubt that has not changed.
    I have to laugh when a person says grading twice a year is all that is needed. Its more like twice a month or more depending on precipitation and traffic. Gravel was expensive back then so most of the time limestone screenings were used instead which is basically stone chips and lime dust- perfect for mud when it rained and resulted in some very numerous potholes! Gravel is still very expensive as anyone who has had to buy a load knows. Imagine the number of loads to do 100 km of Hillier road surface! My road at the time had just four farm families living on it with traffic being mostly 6-8 car or halfton trips a day. Today I have a trailer park at the end of my road with several hundred folks there in the summer not to mention the people using the public beachas well in the summer months. I would suggest it is nothing today to have 40-50 vehicle trips per day in and out my road. I hesitate to think how much gravel and grading would be needed on that 3 km stretch of road today to maintain it. The tar and gravel road surface that I’ve had for the past 20 years is far superior but that surface too is usually in need of pothole repair after 5-6 years. But I would far prefer to pay more taxes for it than go back to gravel/chips and dust. Speaking of dust we used to pour used motor oil onto the roads in front of our homes to try to keep the dust down. In the 70s and 80s Domtar creosote juice was used on most county gravel roads as a dust suppressant. Both of these practices are no longer used today with good reason. When I was a councillor the province gave us about $2.50 for every $1.00 we raised locally. Mike Harris and his Conservative government back in the late 90s changed all that by dumping nearly all of local infrastructure onto the local property tax base so provincially they could give “tax cuts” at the provincial level. It hasn’t changed much since then. Every time a politician tells you he or she will cut your taxes ask them what services you will lose.You can’t cut taxes without losing something.

  2. Dennis Fox says:

    Unless we receive a huge whack of money from the province, our roads will continue to deteriorate and our local tax dollars will never keep up to the demand. Let’s give the municipality a chance to lobby, but failing that I think Council needs to hold community meetings for input and together draft up a “new” set of expectations for most of our roads. For example – keep the major roads paved, but then find the best approach to refurbishing the other roads to a lesser standard, but still safe and long lasting. Not every road needs to be paved with concrete shoulders – a well prepared foundation covered with tar and gravel, rolled and compacted can last many years. – long enough maybe for funding models to change?? We also need to address the issue of better visual designation for many intersections Just a few ideas.

  3. Mike Rodgers says:

    Further to gravel roads. They are cost effective to repair. Twice a year with a grader looks after the pots hole with the proper grader operator. CR 13 at one time was gravel from Watthams crossroad to the point. Now paved with a million pot holes. 50 years a less ago gravel, few pot holes and a grading twice a year.

  4. Mike Rodgers says:

    No question CR 49 needs to replaced with Portland cement. The durability speaks for its shelf.Long term money will be saved. Turn some of the roads back to gravel, who ever decided to hard surface some of these road made a costly mistake.

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