Todd Hewitt

Simcoe St./Meloche Road intersection re-opens earlier than anticipated



By RTT Staff


For those heading to the Woofa-Roo Pet Festival this weekend, be advised that one major construction project is out of the way.

The intersection of Simcoe St. and Meloche Road re-opened Friday and is not scheduled to close again until paving works is necessary. Even then, manager of engineering and operations Todd Hewitt stated that it won’t be a full closure.

“We are very happy to have it done,” Hewitt said of the intersection.

MelocheSimcoe signWEB

Hewitt said the town always wanted to have the intersection open for the Woofa-Roo Pet Festival but since the contractor got the work done in about half the time, there will be no need for a re-closure immediately after the festival.

The intersection was closed July 31 and was expected to last four weeks. Hewitt said the contractor was able to complete the storm sewer installation project in that area of the roadway in two weeks.

Users of the Libro Centre still have to use the temporary entrance off of Simcoe St., however, as the overall Meloche Road project is still ongoing.

Town council approves tender for Pickering Dr. work



By Ron Giofu


Town council has approved a $1.1 million tender for watermain and road improvements to Pickering Dr.

The tender was awarded to SLR Contracting Group Inc. with manager of engineering Todd Hewitt stating watermain work should take six to eight weeks when it gets started. The pavement improvements and intersection work would come after that. The town used Hrycay Consulting Engineers Inc. for its engineering work, Hewitt noted.

Pickering Dr1WEB

In his report to town council, Hewitt pointed out the watermain work will go from King St. to Dalhousie St.

“The watermain on Pickering Dr. has experienced significant breaks in the past. This watermain is critical infrastructure that services a number of large commercial properties that require water to operate. It also currently services four apartment/condominium buildings along Pickering Dr. with another soon to be constructed east of Sandwich St.,” Hewitt stated in his report.

There will also be intersection improvements at Pickering Dr. and Sandwich St. S. with Hewitt noting those improvements will consist of new traffic signals, poles, pedestrian signals, sidewalks and curb upgrades.

Pickering Dr. will get some work this year, including the intersection of Pickering and Sandwich (pictured).

Pickering Dr. will get some work this year, including the intersection of Pickering and Sandwich (pictured).

“Replacing the traffic and pedestrian signals at the intersection of Sandwich Street and Pickering Drive will bring the intersection into compliance with the provincial AODA regulations. Relocating the traffic signal poles and cabinet will better protect them from vehicular damage,” said Hewitt, in his report.

The town had set aside just over $2 million for the project in the 2017 budget. That left $967,301.16 remaining in the total project budget. Hewitt recommended that those savings be used to reduce the issuance of future long term water debt and reduce the 2018 gas tax usage.

“This will be addressed with council during the final reporting of the project,” he stated in his report.

Meloche Road project to get underway soon



By Ron Giofu


Motorists heading to the Libro Centre will soon not have to worry about avoiding chewed up sections of Meloche Road.

Town council approved the tender at their meeting last Tuesday night with J&J Lepera awarded the contract for their bid of $3,929,700, plus HST. According to a report from manager of engineering Todd Hewitt, the total budget for the project is over $4.3 million.

The town received nearly $2 million in an Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) grant. The town’s breakdown of the funding for the project sees $500,000 coming from the 2017 gas tax allocation, $1.3 million from a development charge supported debenture over 20 years and a tax rate supported debenture of nearly $311,500.

There will also be $201,960 coming from the County of Essex, as the county pays 40 per cent portion of paved pathways under the County Wide Active Transportation System (CWATS) program.

The Meloche Road project should get underway in early to mid-June.

The Meloche Road project should get underway in early to mid-June.

Hewitt told town council that the tender process was delayed slightly due to the town having to work with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry regarding the possibility of there being species at risk.

Despite that delay, the project is still on schedule. Hewitt said the project has to be done by Oct. 31 due to conditions of the grant and that will schedule will be adhered to.

“We’re right on track,” said Hewitt.

The town constructed a temporary entrance off of Simcoe St. to the Libro Centre last year, and that will allow construction crews to complete their work on Meloche Road and give Libro Centre patrons access to the facility at the same time.

Not only will there be a new road surface from Alma St. to Lowes Side Road, there will also be other amenities including bike lanes and a multi-use trail. There will also be a storm sewer installed at the corner of Meloche Road and Simcoe St. to accommodate the Meadowview subdivision to be built northwest of that intersection.
A start date for the project has not yet been finalized, but work could commence in early to mid-June.

Sisters hoping to see Concession 2 North bridge preserved



By Ron Giofu


A pair of sisters are taking action with the hope of saving the bridge on Concession 2 North near River Canard.

The fate of the bridge is currently up in the air as the town has several options for what to do with the decaying structure, but Carmel and Patricia Ravanello hope the option of demolition isn’t chosen. Carmel said they were out at their family’s property one day and saw measurements being taken on the bridge and questioned a worker as to what was going on. Patricia added they talked to a worker and he said there was a tender out for removal and replacement of the current bridge, so they took action and found the tender. They followed up by contacting town administration.

The fate of the Concession 2 North bridge will be discussed by town council May 23 but  sisters Carmel and Patricia Ravanello hope the final result isn’t demolition of the bridge.

The fate of the Concession 2 North bridge will be discussed by town council May 23 but sisters Carmel and Patricia Ravanello hope the final result isn’t demolition of the bridge.

“We want it to be repaired, if anything,” said Carmel.

The Ravanello sisters believe it is a historic bridge, with Patricia stating her research shows it was built in 1938 by the R.J. Blyth Co. She said they had placed an advertisement in The Amherstburg Echo around that time period.

“They also built the St. Joseph Church bridge,” said Patricia.

Carmel noted that bow arch bridges, like the one on Concession 2 North, are rare and that they just wanted to bring attention to what is going on. The sisters point out the significance of the bridge ranks seven out of ten on a national and local level according to the website They said they realize costs are a factor and know estimates are higher than the $365,000 the town has budgeted for the bridge, but they just want to spark new ideas.

While they point out they are open to all ideas, the Ravanello sisters offer additional suggestions such as performing “basic maintenance” on the bridge, using it as a pedestrian and cycling bridge and build another bridge next to it for vehicles, close Concession 2 North to through traffic and have no bridge at all.

“We’re not saying close the bridge but it’s an option,” said Carmel.

They acknowledge concerns that the bridge is too narrow, but Carmel believes that can be overcome with proper signage warning of the width of the bridge. Patricia adds that it “serves as a traffic calming” device with the sisters concerned over speeding in the area.

“Our concern is the bridge,” said Carmel. “We’re open to anything. I’m just not open to it being demolished. We’d like to see it maintained.”

“We’re very negotiable,” said Patricia.

A portion of the Concession 2 North bridge is shown decaying. Council will get a chance to discuss the bridge's fate May 23.

A portion of the Concession 2 North bridge is shown decaying. Council will get a chance to discuss the bridge’s fate May 23.

Todd Hewitt, the manager of engineering for the town of Amherstburg, said there will be a report going before town council May 23. He said estimates to repair the bridge came in “significantly higher” than the original cost for bridge repairs that was budgeted for so the town issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to replace the bridge.

Three options will be presented to council, including repairing the bridge, replacing the bridge with a standard look, and replacing the bridge with a similar looking bridge.

“What we’re trying to do is give council all the options,” said Hewitt. “Obviously, they have different costs associated with them.”

Hewitt said council has to make the choice as it has become a budgetary matter due to costs exceeding the original budgeted amount.

“We just want to give council all of the options so they can make an informed decision,” he said.

The town has no records on the age of the bridge, he added, and that there is some useful life left in the bridge but noted it will eventually reach the end of its serviceable lifespan. While there is life left in it, he cautioned there will be “significant costs” to bring it back up to standard.

Town reports that Texas Road project nearly $600,000 under budget



By Ron Giofu


The final numbers are in and the town is reporting a positive variance in terms of actual cost versus the estimates.

According to a report from manager of engineering Todd Hewitt, the original project estimate for the Texas Road project was $5,726,509 with the estimated final cost being $5,126,515. That leaves a final variance of $599,994, which director of corporate services/treasurer Justin Rousseau said will be used to reduce future long-term debt.

Texas Road1

“The public works department used innovative thinking and was able to work together with the contractor and the consultant to achieve significant cost savings for the construction of Texas Road without sacrificing construction quality. The main savings was achieved by pulverizing the asphalt roadway and granular base and reusing the material for the widened road surface,” Hewitt’s report stated. “This change achieved significant cost savings without affecting the projected lifecycle for the asphalt surface.”

That strategy enabled the town to reduce the overall costs and “therefore reduce the amount of debenture debt that is required to finance the project by $346,528.”

Construction on the Texas Road project began in August 2015 with work continuing throughout the rest of that year and into the summer of 2016 with landscaping and sod placed in August 2016.

“The main work on Texas Road is now complete,” Hewitt stated in his report. “There are a number of small deficiencies to be resolved but they are minor in nature.”