An idea worth considering
Centre Wellington Mayor Kelly Linton is hoping that Wellington County will assume the maintenance and repair of three kilometres of Highway 6 within the urban boundaries of Fergus.
Before dismissing the idea outright, we should consider the compelling arguments on both sides.
The Connecting Link (connecting two ends of a provincial highway) is currently a municipal road.
Yet, the traffic counts are high enough to be classified as a county road.
It causes a complicated conundrum that boils down to dollars. The municipality gets 90% funding for the work done on the road, limited to one project a year.
And while Connecting Links are typically owned by lower-tier municipalities, some single-tier counties own connecting links.
By uploading the road to the county, it wouldn’t disqualify the county from the funding.
Highway 6 through Fergus is a major artery that sees between 17,400 and 23,300 vehicles on the south portion, and between 10,200 to 14,600 vehicles on the north portion.
Many of these travellers are not local but are passing through.
With the cost of maintaining these roads getting more expensive every year, it makes sense for a larger entity to have that responsibility.
The cost of many of the projects are in the millions, and that makes it harder for municipalities to fund.
Before writing this idea off entirely, the county should work with the municipalities to come up with a solution, whether they assume the road or come up with a grant system for the three communities that have connection links running through the urban area.
Keep it with the municipality
Recently, Centre Wellington Mayor Kelly Linton asked Wellington County council to make the portion of Highway 6 that bisects Fergus a Wellington County road.
Currently, the road is designated as a “connecting link” meaning the provincial government will pay for up to 90% of any road work.
So theoretically the township could have major road construction done and only foot 10% of the bill.
That sounds pretty great, considering the road is also a main artery of Fergus itself.
But Linton is asking Wellington County to take over even that 10% portion because 17,400 and 23,360 vehicles per day travel the northern portion of Highway 6, while 10,260 to 14,600 vehicles travel the northern section.
That sounds a little on the greedy side to me.
The road is a Fergus road, it’s one of three bridges that will take vehicles across the Grand River in the town.
If Wellington County takes it over is Centre Wellington really ready to hand over the reins completely and have no say in the road, letting Wellington County and the Ontario government make all of the decisions?
That seems like a bit of a disaster.
What if work is needed on the infrastructure under the road?
That’s the township’s responsibility so three levels of government would need to come to an agreement and make it happen?
It sounds a bit like a fairy tale that has no chance of ending happily ever after.
Centre Wellington Township should quit while its ahead and be happy with the Connecting Link program. It does provide provincial funding after all.