WEB ONLY: Long-awaited road needs study unveiled by township engineer

“It’s a working document.”

That’s how Henry Centen summarized the lengthy road needs study he presented to council here on Jan. 27.

Centen, the senior transportation engineer with R.J Burnside and Associates Ltd., told council the document is to be used as a guide for allocating capital funds for future road projects.

The big change between this document and previous studies, is a geographic information system (GIS) component, as well as information to be used to meet the municipality’s requirements under the Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB), Centen ex­plained.

The PSAB requires financial reporting by public sector entities, including value estimates for all public assets.

Approximately 373 kilometres of roads are inventoried in Centen’s report, including 345km of rural roads, 21km of semi-urban roads, and 7km of urban roads.

Road surface types are com­prised of 154km of asphalt, 53km of treated surface, 156km of gravel, and 10km of earth. The study classifies all roads using the provincial main­tenance standards.

“Over time the municipality has embarked on a plan to pave the east-west concessions,” Centen said, noting almost all those roads are now paved.

“This provides a very good level of service.”

Centen noted the township has taken a different approach with north-south roads, which are more local routes. He noted once traffic levels reach 200 to 500 vehicles per day, a hard top can be applied. Over 500 vehicles suggests the need for asphalt, he added.

Centen said in the report there are currently 128km of “deficient” roads, with a 60:40% split between hard and gravel-and-earth surfaces.

About 104km are classified as needing immediate repairs, with about 15km of hard surface to be addressed withing one to five years and 9km need­ing repairs withing six to 10 years.

He offers three scenarios to complete repairs, including an­nual budgets over a 10-year period ranging from $250,000 to $1-million. In 2008 the roads budget was $275,000.

Major needs are identified for sections of the following roads: 14th Line, Sideroad 15, Yatton Sideroad, Blind Line, Concession 6, Sideroad 3, Con­cession 4, Sideroad 12, 16th Line, and Concession 14.

Councillor Mike Downey asked if there is any consideration given to traffic types, in addition to volumes.

Centen replied traffic type has been acknowledged as an important factor, specifically in industrial zones, near gravel pits, and in other areas.

Councillor Jim Curry said past roads studies have not included urban streets and he wondered if there were some of those roads missing from Cen­ten’s document.

Centen said it is possible and suggested council and staff forward any oversights to Pub­lic Works Director Larry Lynch for inclusion in the study.

“It’s not finalized, and it won’t be until we get that type of input included,” said Cen­ten. Lynch agreed.

“This is the starting point and this is a tool,” Lynch told council. He said the study is not meant to be a “final say” on roads , and requires political input, Lynch said.

Mayor John Green thanked Centen for the presentation of his report.

“Now we have a blueprint of where we might want to go,” Green said. He added the township will be reviewing the document and bring them up to date it as they go.

Council voted unanimously to accept the report.

Councillor Bruce Whale was absent.