Essex County council approves early release of $5.7 million worth of road projects

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Essex County council has approved the early release of $5.7 million worth of road projects, four of which will impact Amherstburg.

The remainder of the $11.2 million worth of road projects will be debated during next month’s budget deliberations.

Director of transportation services/county engineer Tom Bateman said the practice of releasing funds early has been one that has worked out well for the county.

“We’ve met with excellent success over the years,” Bateman told county council, “and we’re looking for similar success in 2018.”

In his report to county council, Bateman noted “an increase from 2017 in the expenditure level of the overall rehabilitation program in the amount of $579,200 has been included for 2018 providing a total funding of $11,221,400.” The increased funding is supported through a $320,000 annual incremental increase, a $156,280 Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) increase and a gas tax agreement of $102,920.

The four projects planned for Amherstburg, all designated for early release, include structural deterioration rehabilitation for the Canard River bridge on County Road 20, a culvert replacement on County Road 20 at Concession 7 South, pavement rehabilitation on County Road 8 between Howard Ave. and Walker Road and pavement rehabilitation on County Road 18 between Concession 6 South and Howard Ave. The latter project will also include paved shoulders, which is also part of the County-Wide Active Transportation System (CWATS) plan.

County Road 18 between Concession 6 South and Howard Ave. is scheduled to be repaved, including paved shoulders, in 2018.

The estimates on those projects are $190,000, $675,000, $500,000 and $510,000 respectively.

Leamington Mayor John Paterson questioned the 25-year capital expansion plan, which he said sees only nine per cent of $322 million in roadwork proposed for Leamington, Kingsville, Essex and Amherstburg. According to Paterson, 91 per cent of it is planned for Tecumseh, LaSalle and Lakeshore.

“It certainly doesn’t seem very equitable across the county,” said Paterson. “I’m not looking for answers tonight. I just want to bring it up because I think it’s important.”

Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara indicated the issue dates back to when a portion of what is now Tecumseh was given over to Windsor. McNamara said Tecumseh has been “very patient” as it awaits resolution to some of its roadway issues.

“The amount of traffic that goes through our community is very high,” said McNamara. “Obviously you’ve got to take a bus tour to the north end of the county to see how traffic really moves.”

Bateman said there are capacity issues in the northern part of the county, stating there isn’t the same level of capacity issues in the southern portions of Essex County that need addressing.

As it relates to the capacity expansion program, Bateman wrote in his report: “County Council has adopted a financial forecasting tool to address the roadway expansion requirements as identified in the Essex Windsor Regional Transportation Master Plan, updated for inflationary considerations, along with estimates, based on recent reports, for the expansion costs of selected high volume highways. The model is premised on 1.5 per cent levy increases through 2018 to accommodate the approximate $400 million of infrastructure. In 2012, the financial model was amended to identify and prioritize expansion requirements exclusive of senior government funding and grade separations. In order to accommodate 100 per cent municipal funding, the schedule has been elongated to 2040 to manage the financial burden within reasonable limits of the county levy.”

 

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