Hard Topping Gravel Roads

At the Perth Road all-candidates meeting there were numerous questions on a schedule for hard topping gravel roads.  There is no specific schedule.  The intention of this Council, and previous ones, is that over time, most, if not all, roads would be hard topped.  The priority roads would be primarily determined by traffic counts and budget considerations.

Last fall the Public Works department presented to Council a list of all the Township’s gravel roads and their traffic counts. The traffic counts in this table are a little uneven and they do not take into consideration the many traffic counts that were taken this past summer.   The table does not have any traffic Counts for Leland Road at the west end where the hard topping ends, which are important to get and will be higher than at North Shore Road.  An updated list will hopefully be presented by December, before the start of next year’s budget deliberations.

Use this link for the table of gravel roads and traffic counts: Attachment B -Traffic Counts Summary 2010-2017. 

In my December 2017 newsletter I made the following comments on gravel roads and the choices for hard topping:

Last summer Public Services suggested a halt to resurfacing gravel roads for five years due to the cost of Road 38 repairs.  After some discussion Council requested a list of gravel roads and their priority for hard topping.  Instead, the Public Services Committee recommended hard-topping Carrying Place Road and Deyo’s/Bunker Hill Roads.

Despite repeated requests, there was no rational presented to support this recommendation. Traffic counts were submitted late in the budget process which supported hard topping Massassagua Road and Burridge Road South.  Carrying Place and Deyo’s/ Bunkers Hill Roads have the third and fourth highest traffic counts.

Early in the process Councillor Sleeth had argued that Carrying Place Road would have significantly increased traffic due to a new approved subdivision. This makes sense but it has still not been provided as a formal rational.

Deyo’s/Bunker Hill Roads do not have the same defense. If the idea is to create another main north south route in the middle of the Township – hard topping will do that – it is not clear that it is a good idea.  It certainly is not one that has been debated and decided.    In 2018, a master traffic plan will be done that should provide an answer to questions like that.  To hard top this lower priority road before we have that advice and decided on its recommendations seems premature.

There is another alternative that may work better for more people. Rather than targeting two roads for the full treatment, Council could increase ditching, drainage, quality of gravel and grading on the many gravel roads that become difficult to drive after heavy rains, which are happening more often.

This key recommendation on roads looks a bit like the backroom politics of old days, rather than the open and accountable government that our strategic plan says we should be working towards and that residents want. What ever policies we support, including in the budget, need to be adequately rationalized to Council and the public and decided through open, informed debate.

 

About Ross Sutherland

nurse, researcher, public health care activist, councillor South Frontenac Township
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