Concession 2 North

Unique reunion reconnects university friends

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A reunion of two university friends and their wives had a unique twist to it.

When Dan and Diane Bondy visited friends Serge Forte and Donna Mancini recently, it was at the home the Bondy’s had originally built. Forte and Dan Bondy went to the University of Windsor and graduated 46 years ago. Dan and Diane built the Concession 2 North home in 1978 and lived there for three years before Dan was transferred to Hamilton.

The couple now lives in Ottawa and were passing through the area en route to Florida. Forte and Mancini are the third owners of the home and Forte didn’t find out until last year that their friends were the original owners.

“It’s a small world,” Forte commented.

The Bondys still have family in the region and Dan said they tried to surprise Forte and Mancini last year, but they weren’t home at the time. This year, they called in advance and arranged the reunion.

“We’ve been trying to get together for years,” said Dan.

Dan Bondy (left) and Serge Forte recently reconnected at Forte’s home, which Bondy and his wife Diane originally built in 1978.

The home has “changed a lot,” Dan added, noting they purchased the lot from Dave Dufour and had Rocco D’Alimonte as the builder.

Dan Bondy and Forte were graduate assistants in the University of Windsor’s geography department in the early 1970’s and had offices near each other. Forte’s band even played at the Bondys’ wedding, he recalled.

“It’s so nice to see someone you saw every day,” said Forte. “It’s a reunion after 46 years.”

Looking back at their careers and those of their classmates, Forte had an additional message.

“Stay in school,” he said. “Everyone ended up with good jobs and jobs we enjoyed.”

Councillor wants update on Concession 2 bridge

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The bowstring arch bridge on Concession 2 North was scheduled to be torn down and replaced this year, but now there are delays.

Councillor Rick Fryer questioned the status of the project, which had initially been approved by town council about a year ago.

“Is it going to be done this year?” Fryer asked, with the response from administration being that the contractor has been having issues obtaining permits from the necessary government ministries and that the project may be delayed until next year.

Fryer suggested the speed limit be reduced in the area.

“There’s a lot of concern abut how the bridge is going to hold up during the winter,” Fryer added.

Town council has elected to tear down and replace the Concession 2 North bridge with a new bridge of modern design.

Should the project be delayed until 2019, engineers will take another look at the aging structure and take appropriate action, administration added.

In Oct. 2017, town council decided to replace the bridge at a cost of approximately $1.2 million with replacement being the recommended option from town administration. According to a report at that time from manager of engineering and operations Todd Hewitt, the new bridge will have a standard design and a 75-year design life.

Town council had two other options – replacement of the bridge with one of a similar design or repairing the current bridge – but opted for replacing it with a standard design. Repairing the current bridge would have cost $927,000 but Hewitt said drawbacks of that option would be a 25-30 year probable service life and the fact bridge weight restrictions and width would remain restricted.

To build a new bridge that would look similar to the current bridge, it had a cost estimate of $1.8 million as it is “an extremely complex design to build” and would carry increased lifecycle and maintenance costs.

The bridge is believed to be roughly 80-years-old.

Councillor interested in four-way stop at Texas Road and Thomas Road intersection

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A town councillor is passing along concerns about a local intersection, as speeds have become a factor in the area.

Councillor Joan Courtney voiced concerns over the intersection of Texas Road and Thomas Road/Concession 2 North at a special council meeting held late last Thursday afternoon. Courtney said noted there is a stop for drivers heading east and west along Texas Road but no stop sign for drivers heading north and south on Concession 2 North with the latter turning into Thomas Road at that intersection.

Courtney wondered if a four-way stop at that intersection was a solution.

“Is it feasible? Should I ask for a report?” asked Courtney.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo pointed out that Concession 2 North/Thomas Road is also a county road in that area so the County of Essex would also have to be involved in the process.

Councillor Joan Courtney raised the issue of looking into a four-way stop at Texas Road and Concession 2 North/Texas Road.

Director of planning, development and legislative services Mark Galvin pointed out that a four-way stop can’t simply be installed, there has to be warrants that justify it before a four-way stop can be put in place.

Additional signage in the area advising people of the speed limits could help slow people down, he suggested.

“It tends to decrease the speeds,” said Galvin.

Courtney also questioned the status of the LED street lighting project along Front Road North between Ranta Marina and Malden Road. Manager of engineering Todd Hewitt said it was a struggle to find an electrical engineer but now they are working with Fieldcraft Engineering on the project.

Hewitt stated that lighting levels have to be studies with costs also having to be obtained from Hydro One.

State of Concession 2 North draws ire of councillor

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A member of town council is calling for action with regards to the condition of one of the town’s rural roads.

Councillor Rick Fryer said he has fielded numerous calls with regards to the state of Concession 2 North, stating there have been many temporary repairs done but not enough to ensure the road is in good shape.

“I don’t know how many repairs we’ve done to that road,” he said.

Councillor Rick Fryer has expressed concern with the condition of Concession 2 North.

Pointing out there is a roads needs study in Amherstburg, Fryer believed that Concession 2 North between Middle Side Road and the bridge over the Long Marsh Drain should be at the top of the list. He said “patchwork” repairs have been done and believed that residents who live and travel down that road should see major repairs and upgrades.

“Those residents deserve a new one,” he said of the road. “We need to aggressively fix that road.”

The bridge over Long Marsh Drain is scheduled for replacement this year. The bridge, located near River Canard, will be replaced at a cost of approximately $1.2 million and look like a modern bridge rather than the bow arch bridge that currently is situated there.

Concession 2 North bridge to be torn down, replaced

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The bowstring arch bridge located on Concession 2 North over the Long Marsh Drain is going to be torn down and replaced.

The bridge, located near River Canard, will be replaced at a cost of approximately $1.2 million with replacement being the recommended option from town administration. According to a report from manager of engineering and operations Todd Hewitt, the new bridge will have a standard design and a 75-year design life.

Town council had two other options – replacement of the bridge with one of a similar design or repairing the current bridge – but opted for replacing it with a standard design. To repair the current bridge would have cost $927,000 but Hewitt said drawbacks of that option would be a 25-30 year probable service life and the fact bridge weight restrictions and width would remain restricted.

To build a new bridge that would look similar to the current bridge, it had a cost estimate of $1.8 million as it is “an extremely complex design to build” and would carry increased lifecycle and maintenance costs.

The issue over the fate of the Concession 2 North bridge arose earlier this year, when costs to maintain the current bridge came in higher than anticipated.

Town council has elected to tear down and replace the Concession 2 North bridge with a new bridge of modern design.

“The 2017 Capital Budget included $364,000 for the rehabilitation and repair of the existing bridge based on the estimate provided in the 2016 Bridge Inspection Report received from Keystone (Bridge Management). Based on a recommendation included in the 2016 Bridge Inspection Report, administration contracted Stantec Consulting to complete a detailed condition report of the existing structure with rehabilitation recommendations. The detailed condition report also included an estimated cost to complete the required rehabilitation work. The estimate in the report from Stantec Consulting was $842,000 plus engineering fees,” said Hewitt, in his report to council.

An RFP was issued and the matter was to be discussed at the May 23 council meeting, however Hewitt noted the town was offered pre-cast bridge beams at a “significantly discounted cost” so the matter was delayed while that option was investigated.

“Through this analysis it was determined that the beams could be used for the bridge structure but that additional work and costs would be incurred by the municipality to use the beams which would result in an overall increase to the RFP contract,” stated Hewitt.

Some of the reasons he listed for the additional costs were the because size of the footing and abutments would need to be increased significantly; the overall excavation would be larger, requiring more sheet piling; the deck surface would be increased resulting in increased materials to

treatments for the deck; the entire bridge would be 300mm higher resulting in additional roadway works and guardrails and that the banks and shoreline of the drain would need to be reshaped.

“This would result in additional costs and possible delays to receive approvals from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF),” Hewitt said. “Based on the information regarding the donated beams administration determined that accepting the donated beams was not a prudent decision that would benefit the town.”

Sisters Carmel and Patricia Ravanello, whose family owns property nearby, had pressed for the preservation of the existing bridge.

A portion of the Concession 2 North bridge is shown decaying.

“I can’t believe that it would have cost $1.2 million to repair/refurbish the existing bridge,” Carmel said in an e-mail to the River Town Times. “I am disappointed with this news not only as someone trying to preserve the history and heritage of River Canard but also as a taxpayer.”

The Ravanello sisters believe it is a historic bridge, with Patricia telling the RTT earlier this year that 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 pointed out the significance of the bridge ranks seven out of ten on a national and local level according to the website www.historicalbridges.org and were hopeful of new ideas. They offered 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.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo believed the option of replacing the bridge with a current design was the most financially prudent way to go. DiCarlo did sympathize with heritage concerns noting he tries to support heritage in Amherstburg, citing the town’s purchase of Belle Vue as an example.

“The bridge was never designated heritage,” he said, adding the town is not in a position financially to spend the extra money to design a new bridge with the look of the current one.

DiCarlo added that refurbishing the old bridge was slightly cheaper but the bridge still would have had the width and weight restrictions plus a reduced lifespan.

“It seemed like a lot to saddle future generations for them to do it again in that short period of time,” he said.

The new bridge will be wider and have more room for pedestrians and cyclists and “I think that’s important to people,” said DiCarlo.

Based on the cost of bridges and culverts not just in Amherstburg but around Essex County, DiCarlo said $1 million “seems to be the going rate.” He added that environmental protections around River Canard may have contributed to the costs of the new bridge as well.