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Report should pave way toward plan to fix County Road 49

Council approval of a contract for condition assessment and rehabilitation options for County Road 49 will pave the way toward its eventual improvements.

Following discussion at Shire Hall Tuesday night, councillors learned that approval of the $77,625 assessment contract, to be awarded to Associated Engineering (Ontario) Ltd., will help the project move forward no matter what outside funding or assistance that may come available.

The report, said Robert McAuley, Commissioner of Engineering Development and Works, will be an action plan on how to spend money over the years to fix the road.

Noting the road gets worse by the week, councillor Kevin Gale wanted clarification that reports and budget dollars would result, instead of simply waiting for government funding.

“It’s in the 2018 forecast to spend the money. I believe that number was $21 million (plus). What we don’t know exactly, is what is the best approach to the road. For example, is it concrete? Is it asphalt? Is it surface treating? What is the best approach over the life of the road? This report is intended to tell us that.”

County CEO James Hepburn reminded councillors that the Ministry of Transportation has suggested the County prepare a technical assessment to support any future provincial and federal funding applications.

“It’s a very valuable document to have and hopefully will help us greatly in our pursuit of funding and to get this done,” said Hepburn.

McAuley noted the municipality must know the technique it should be using.

“Is it best to remove the concrete and turn it to asphalt – something we’re already well tuned into maintaining? Or is it best to rehabilitate, or replace the concrete, over the lifespan of the road. We’re not concrete road experts. To my mind, the report will guide us in the capital budgeting.”

Councillor Bill Roberts supported the motion to move forward on the assessment, noting he wanted to see last year’s CAA Worst Road in Ontario go to best status. He asked Mayor Robert Quaiff to report to council on recent positive conversations in relation to 49.

“We have been to the province and MTO on numerous occasions, begging, and giving them our business case as to why we want to focus in on Highway 49,” said Quaiff. “They are sympathetic with all the municipalities in Ontario, however, in speaking with the area policy advisor for Eastern Ontario, she advised we needed to do this study, to have this information if we ever expected the MTO engineers to look forward… Their engineers, and specialists with concrete, would review that document and offer comments or assistance.”

He has also been in touch with the Canadian Concrete Association which has expressed interested in viewing the highway after the study is completed; and with the County’s own Lehigh Cement Company.

“Their interest of course would come in the participation of supplying cement and there’s the possibility that partnership could be had at a significant lower cost because of the jobs it would produce here locally at the cement plant,” said Quaiff. “As well, they are waiting for this report to have some substance.”

Filed Under: Local News

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