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Frustration grows over road maintenance costs

Saturday, June 07, 2014   by: Darren Taylor

City engineering staff will ask council Monday to inform the provincial Ministry of Transportation that the city should not be stuck with construction and maintenance costs related to former connecting link roads that run through Sault Ste. Marie.

The province announced in early 2013, with very little notice, that it would stop its 75 percent funding for connecting links, which make up 25 kilometres of commercially-important roads connecting the Sault to Highway 17 East and North and the International Bridge.

Two letters have since been sent to Glen Murray, Transportation Minister, from Mayor Debbie Amaroso requesting some sort of annual replacement funding for connecting links.

In addition, council was informed by the Ministry in early May there will be no environmental assessment or planning for a new route for Highway 17 within the next 10 years.

That route, it was hoped, would have connected Highway 17 East from Batchewana First Nation to the east limit of Second Line at Black Road.

Since there will be no connection between Highway 17 East and North, that means the city must widen the remaining portion of Second Line, and Black Road between Second Line and McNabb Street, out of its own pocket.

The Sault has successfully obtained funding for some Second Line widening from the province’s Small Rural and Northern Municipal Infrastructure Fund.

Still, a report to council from the engineering department states: “It should not sit well with this Council that it is financially responsible for all aspects of the TransCanada Highway within the city limits, with no hope of a bypass, when cities like Thunder Bay and Sudbury have bypasses, and roads within city limits that are exclusively the responsibility of the Province.”

It is recommended another letter be sent from council, calling for a meeting with the Minister of Transportation to obtain some form of annual funding for connecting links, to be scheduled after the June 12 provincial election.

The engineering department report to council states with no new route for Highway 17 on the horizon, and with cancellation of connecting link funding, the city’s capital works budget is faced with a 15 percent cut in funding while the city is still responsible for all maintenance, line painting, and snow removal on former connecting link roads.

In other road developments, council will be asked to approve the city’s 2015 capital road works program and the 2016-2019 programs in principle.

Funding for these projects comes from money put aside in each annual city budget, with help coming from gas tax rebate funding.

Council is being advised to provide additional base funding for roadwork and storm drainage.

2014 projects now underway, or scheduled to start soon, include resurfacing of Queen Street East from Pine to Gravelle (which includes the reconfiguration of Queen Street from four lanes to three and the addition of bicycle lanes), March Street from Queen to Wellington, Second Line widening (300 metres east of Pine to 800 metres east of Pine), repairs to aqueducts and bridges after last September‘s flooding and bridge replacements. 

2015 projects include resurfacing of Bay Street from Andrew to Pim, Huron Street from Queen to Cathcart (Huron Street considered overdue for full reconstruction, with full replacement of underground services), McMeeken Street from Churchill to Elizabeth and Upton Road from Queen to Wellington (full replacement of underground services and road structure), former connecting link maintenance, rehabilitation of bridges and aqueducts (Fort Creek and/or Central Creek aqueducts) and other “various” road resurfacing projects as funding allows.

Comments
21
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
right wing 6/7/2014 11:12:38 AM Report

You can thank your Ontario Liberals for this one.
Billions wasted....no money for road maintenance.
Right of Centre 6/7/2014 11:22:01 AM Report

Toll it for certain commercial traffic. Exempt commercial traffic leaving the city on 17 that is carrying our product out, or if the driver lives in the city.

This is something Orazetti should have addressed by now. Remember that on election day.
ThinkAgain 6/7/2014 11:28:07 AM Report

Another Liberal screw-up

Toll for commercial traffic for sure if there's no other options.
Javaman 6/7/2014 11:34:45 AM Report

I think the city...for now...should cancel its plans to widen second line from Pine to Black roads. Is one block worth going into debt to the tune of 1,5 million? Surely traffic can "stand" a single lane for that short distance. We are not that big of a city
Wisenheimer 6/7/2014 11:38:58 AM Report

Currently in S.Ontario ... road work is booming, asphalt being laid from Kingston to Sarnia.
The billion or so wasted in securing a couple of seats for Dalton and Co. would have come in handy on GNR and our other cow paths.
We did get a chance to shoot us a bear though.
boilertyme 6/7/2014 11:41:47 AM Report

The bridges that are being referred to are older then dirt, single lane and were evaluated long before last falls flooding for replacement .
ranny 6/7/2014 11:55:43 AM Report

There is always money for road maintenance. They just won't support Northern Ontario because they number to please for election won't make a factor. Everything will always go to Southern Ontario and what left over is spread through Northern Ontario to fight over.
fatafr 6/7/2014 12:26:51 PM Report

No by-pass anytime soon, so what is new ?? I hate to be the bearer of unpolitically correct commentary, again. But, once again, our native neighbours will receive 100% of nothing for, allegedly, being, how can I put it, perhaps a bit too unreasonable when it came to demands in negotiations with the MTO. Our neighbours, allegedly, did this earlier on with creating barriers regarding the potential development of the Black Rd property between 2nd Line and McNabb St. The developers of the solar farms moved elsewhere and thus, the Black Rd property remains undeveloped. Again, they received 100% of nothing.

We've got to begin having some level of neighbourly cooperation if our somewhat isolated area is going to move forward, economically, with opportunities coming into our area. Continuing to block good development will hurt all of us. The by-pass would have created a safer flow of traffic, especially for huge transports presently having to negotiate a number of 90 degree turns. I believe the by-pass would have resulted in less traffic using Hwy 17B, thus creating a safer situation for the residents of Garden River, especially those living and walking along Hwy 17B. Neighbourly cooperation has to be a 2-way street. In the case locally, unfortunately, this has not been the case.

And so, this 1 km by-pass extension will not be happening, anytime soon, and for that we will all be that much worst off and be forced to accept the consequences. Too bad, so very sad.
(with reasonable and healthy dialogue between our neighbours and the Provincial government, this by-pass could have been up and running 10 years ago. Just my opinion.)
Right of Centre 6/7/2014 1:58:42 PM Report

Perhaps we should erect a blockade. That seems to get things done, or stop things from being done.
ya....right 6/7/2014 2:02:08 PM Report

funny how all you Liberal bashers conveniently fail to remember that the P.C. and NDP parties both supported what eventually became the "Gas Plant Scandal" The Liberals only pulled the trigger....as for wasting money....just see back to recent times when the P.C.s were in power and the one time the NDP won.... all the Liberal "corruption" added up wouldn't equal the debt and damage the P.C. and NDP parties gave us.
All Is Well 6/7/2014 2:47:10 PM Report

Why this release? The City was notified in "early 2013" about this. Now, it is 6 months into 2014 and the city wants to write another letter? Issue press releases? Council all patted their own backs on obtaining a 0% budget increase, which included cancelling planned road maintenance. Council knew about the removal of the funding more than a year ago, knew about this during budget deliberations, chose to ignore it, passed a 0% budget increase, and now complain of funding? Awesome.
Gumby54 6/7/2014 3:34:54 PM Report

Actually City Council voted to have a 0% increase in the mill rate not taxes. As most are aware, MPAC gave us a 3 year assessment last year that included percentage increases in 2014 and 2015 to THEIR perceived value of our houses. Even with this so called 0% increase in mill rate the city is is still taking in 2-3% increase in funds from last year. So when your esteemed councillors say " look at us we didn't raise your taxes", that is not entirely accurate.
Look at your latest tax bill and compare it with last year, not the same value - not even close.
JB 6/7/2014 3:44:45 PM Report

There you go,maybe you should of spent the money you waisted on that discovery centre to fix our roads,another white elephant the city taxpayer are on the hook for.
Javaman 6/7/2014 3:48:46 PM Report

That zero percent tax increase...the one ALL councillors approved...because of the lection this fall...is already creating problems. Remember these guys when the vote gets here this fall. Mr Fata....you chirp away about not enough money to complete Second Line extension but you voted down any increase...you are too little too late...nice try.
Jimssm 6/7/2014 4:36:12 PM Report

Wasn't the original bypass supposed to go in the 6th line area ? ....Bypassing all the land claims and thus avoiding negotiations ?

It was the City that nixed that idea, if I'm not mistaken.

Truth is, Black Road is used mostly for local traffic, making funding as a connecting link unclaimable.

Fishy that this is brought up right before a provincial election, when this is year-old news.
irishfey 6/7/2014 8:53:35 PM Report

JIMSSM.. " fishy that this is brought up ""... It's " election " time! ,lol... This is the first time I'm really stumped at who to vote for!.. I have never seen grown people act so much like kids in my life!.. Sad state we're in....
Frio 6/7/2014 9:53:35 PM Report

Jimssm..."Black Road is used mostly for local traffic, making funding as a connecting link unclaimable." How is the all Trans Canada Highway traffic which is mostly transports getting between Second Line and Trunk Road without using Black Road?
Prrrrrrr 6/7/2014 10:28:58 PM Report

I watched the debate and the liberals are still hell bent on spending huge money in Southern Ontario for transportation....I m sick of paying for the go trains in Southern On, let's get a train to Sudbury, so we can access some GREAT TREATMENT FROM SUDBURY HEALTH SCIENCE, we have new hospital but still have to travel for care....PATHETIC!!!!
gr84u 6/7/2014 10:37:49 PM Report

@javaman

Re: Second line widening to Black road.

Remove head from arse, breath, maybe, just maybe you will get enough oxygen to your pea brain to think straight.
Javaman 6/7/2014 11:55:43 PM Report

gr84u...I am entitled to an opinion on this topic like anyone else...suck it up !!
atoz 6/8/2014 2:30:39 AM Report

Its bloody ridiculas. All the roads need fixing. Its a scam all the way back to companies picked to do any road work, quotes given to do road work and missing funding. Work ever completed or never completed its all shabby expensive bandages that smash my car around everytime i go to town. Maybe the city should cover the costs to fix our cars.........
Comments
21
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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