roads needs study

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.

Most town roads will require rehabilitation within ten years

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The town’s roads are OK now, but a lot of work looms on the horizon, according to a consultant.

Kyle Edmunds from Dillon Consulting appeared before town council last Tuesday night and presented an updated roads needs report and while that report deemed the roads to be in “fair” condition, it was also determined that 83 per cent of the town’s roads need to be rehabilitated within ten years.

To combat that problem, the town agreed to a plan that would see $1.41 million committed annually over ten years to road work to help combat the deteriorating road system and get some of the more urgent projects completed.

Of the 226.48 kilometres of roads the town controls, about 30.5 per cent need work now while 23.3 per cent need work in the next 1-5 years. About 29 per cent need work within 6-10 years while the remained don’t need work for beyond a decade.

Less than four per cent of Amherstburg’s roads are considered to be in “excellent” condition, as compared to 20.16 per cent in LaSalle and 15.6 per cent in Tecumseh. As for roads in “good” condition, there are 23.38 per cent of roads in Amherstburg in that category as compared to 45.82 per cent in LaSalle and 29.7 per cent in Tecumseh.

Amherstburg has 16.75 per cent of its roads classified in “fairly good” condition with just over 22 per cent of LaSalle’s roads in that category. Tecumseh has 25.5 per cent of its roads classified as “fairly good.”

As for roads in “fair” condition, 27.72 per cent of Amherstburg’s roads fall in that category, as compared to 11.31 per cent in LaSalle and 23.9 per cent in Tecumseh. Amherstburg has nearly 29 per cent of its roads classified as “poor,” as compared to less than one per cent in LaSalle and 5.3 per cent in Tecumseh.

Tecumseh has 181.4 kilometres of road while LaSalle has 187.56 kilometres. They were used by Dillon Consulting as comparators as the firm did roads needs studies in those two municipalities as well over the last few years.

Expect to see more construction signs over the next decade as the town’s road system requires a lot of work. Meloche Road (pictured here, earlier this summer before the road re-opened) is one of the more recent projects the town has undertaken.

Councillor Leo Meloche wondered why the entire focus was on repairing roads that need it now as he said some priority should be put on some of the roads in the 1-5 year category. The poor roads are already poor but the roads in the 1-5 year category will soon join them if not tended to quicker.

“We’re always chasing our tail,” said Meloche.

Councillor Diane Pouget said she didn’t want residents to think it was a “doom and gloom” situation, and added Amherstburg has more roads than Tecumseh and LaSalle.

“That does make a difference,” she said.

Provincial downloading also made a difference, she suggested.

“I think the municipalities started getting into trouble when the province started downloading to us,” she said.

Councillor Rick Fryer pointed out chunks of cement are coming off of Angstrom Dr. and Victoria St. S. is also deteriorating. There are heavily travelled roads like Concession 2 North that are also in disrepair, calling that road “a thoroughfare to LaSalle. It’s one of the worst roads but people use it.”

Traffic counts should not be the only factor in choosing where road projects should be done, Fryer added, as smaller roads need attention too. He said the town should focus on roads instead of “not needed purchases.”

CAO John Miceli called an increase to $1.41 million annually “significant” and said challenges will be ensuring there are enough contractors to do the work and what prices the town gets when projects are put to tender.

“I would suggest the market will indicate where we are going to be,” he said.

Miceli added he would like to see $120,000 in the crack seal program budget to prolong the life of some of the roads.

Councillor Jason Lavigne said the current council has done a lot of road repairs in its first three years.

“I think this council spent more on roads than the last four councils combined,” he said, noting Texas Road and Meloche Road have been upgraded.

Lavigne wanted to know “what will keep politics out of this” when choosing where and when projects get done. Edmunds said all roads have been classified based on a pavement condition index (PCI) and that shows what roads are in the worst condition.

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale also stated that more roads have been repaired this term whereas “in the past, we didn’t do so much.

“Everyone has seen the number of roads that have been fixed in the last little while,” said DiPasquale.

The last complete roads needs study was done by Dillon Consulting in 2003 with a condition assessment update done in 2013.

Capital works program to include Pickering Dr. project

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A pair of big ticket items have been approved as part of the town’s $8.2 million capital works program, but not all members agreed on what roads should be done.

A debate was held during last Tuesday night’s budget deliberation session at town hall as to whether to do projects pertaining to Pickering Dr. or to resurface Angstrom Cr.

Capital works projects were debated as part of last Monday and Tuesday night’s budget session. Pickering Dr. will get some work this year, including the intersection of Pickering and Sandwich (pictured).

Capital works projects were debated as part of last Monday and Tuesday night’s budget session. Pickering Dr. will get some work this year, including the intersection of Pickering and Sandwich (pictured).

The town would agree to keep Pickering Dr. in the budget with that including resurfacing the road from King St. to Dalhousie St. and doing a watermain at the same time. Work at the intersection of Pickering Dr. and Sandwich St. S. is also planned for 2017.

Councillor Rick Fryer indicated he would rather see work performed on Angstrom Cr. this year, noting the street in the Pointe West subdivision has been in need of repair since 2005. He said there were 99 pictures sent to him of the condition of the road.

“There’s more gaps in that road than in any small street in Amherstburg,” Fryer contended. “I’m advocating for the road to be put somewhere into the budget.”

Fryer indicated he was willing to forgo the Pickering Dr. work for a year to get the work on Angstrom Cr. done.

Manager of engineering and operations Todd Hewitt said traffic counts factor into decisions and that Pickering Dr. is in poor condition as well as Angstrom. He said Pickering Dr. has significantly more traffic than Angstrom Cr.

Councillor Jason Lavigne said the town faces millions of dollars in road repairs and wondered if following up on the audit and finance committee’s suggestion to borrow money at low interest rates for some of the projects might be a way to go. The town’s approach to use money from the two per cent levies on road repairs would take “a 1,000 years to do,” he worried.

“Are these roads going to get done with the way we are doing business now?” asked Lavigne.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said funding of infrastructure is a big issue with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO).

“Every municipality, not just Amherstburg, is in the same situation,” said DiCarlo.

DiCarlo continued by saying AMO is pressing upper levels of government for assistance.

“Without their help, we are going to be playing catch-up and trying to do what is coming up at the same time,” the mayor said.

Lavigne said he agreed with DiCarlo “100 per cent” but “we may be in the grave” waiting for help from the federal and provincial governments. He was also in favour of keeping the Pickering Dr. in the budget, particularly after learning the road reconstruction was being done the same time as the watermain.

“I don’t want to go to jail,” he remarked, in reference the province’s stringent rules relating to municipalities and their responsibility to keep water safe.

CAO John Miceli said the town keeps adding to its capital budget with it being at $8.2 million this year. If the town were to look at a “hybrid model” and try to borrow to do some projects, it would be a one-time capital infusion and not all of the work would be done.

Fryer believed it was “asinine” that people who pay the taxes like they have in Pointe West can’t get service, adding he has been told the condition of the road could lead to litigious situations.

Public works officials said Angstrom Cr. is not listed in the “now” category in terms of repairs and is listed in the 6-10 year category in terms of priority.

Director of planning, development and legislative services Mark Galvin told town council that liability increases with the number of vehicles that travel certain roads and said municipalities follow roads needs studies because unbiased firms give their assessments on the priorities. Miceli said council risks being scrutinized by ratepayers and even lawyers if the town goes out of order on the roads needs study, adding the town can walk into a court of law if need be and defend itself using the study.

Councillor Rick Fryer said he wanted to see Angstrom Cr. reconstructed this year. The street is located off of Pointe West Dr.

Councillor Rick Fryer said he wanted to see Angstrom Cr. reconstructed this year. The street is located off of Pointe West Dr.

“We can defend ourselves because we have a roads needs study to identify priorities,” said Miceli.

Hewitt also noted that if projects were deferred, it could lead to other delays with future projects.

The Pickering Dr. resurfacing is pegged at $200,000 this year with work on the Pickering Dr./Sandwich St. S. intersection calling for $337,700 this year and $412,300 next year in funding. The intersection improvements call for replacement of a traffic signal control cabinet, upgrades to the existing controller cabinet, the replacement of poles, signals and wiring where required and improving curbs, sidewalks and other amenities to meet accessibility requirements.

Angstrom Cr. is projected to be a $500,000 project.

Town council voted 4-1 to go ahead with the budget as recommended with DiCarlo, Lavigne and councillors Leo Meloche and Diane Pouget voting in favour. Fryer was opposed. Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale and Councillor Joan Courtney were not in attendance.