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Centre Wellington's rough roads the topic of conversation at budget meeting

Council hears the gap between recommended funding and budget is in the range of $800K to $1 million
19Oct2021 Centre Wellington Council
Members of council discussed the report on Gravel Road Condition Assessment and Management Strategy during the council meeting on Monday.

CENTRE WELLINGTON – What to do with the municipalities gravel roads became a hot topic during Township of Centre Wellington's ongoing budget discussions on Tuesday.

Recommendations and budget for the upkeep and maintenance of gravel roads were on the table at the meeting.

The Centre Wellington Strategic Plan for 2022 includes the following direction: increase rural road maintenance service levels; and focus on the rehabilitation of rural roads, prioritized in accordance with the Road Needs Study and Asset Management Plan. 

In the spring of 2021, a private contractor, 4 Roads Management Services, assessed the township’s gravel road network and concluded that the average road system would be considered poor in approximately 10 years if no funds were expanded for road improvement.

David Anderson, representative of 4 Roads Management Services, presented that replacement costs to the current standards is $100,093,500 and the current estimated value based on the conditions is $73,593,600. This estimated cost does not include storm or sanitary treatment or linear sidewalks, bridges, and culverts.

“We’re working through the recommendations that have a detailed work plan,” said Colin Baker, managing director of infrastructure services. 

“It’s a challenge in terms of funding; we can’t just bring more projects in without shifting other projects out. The 2022 capital budget does have a starting point in terms of additional maintenance gravel, the spot drainage improvements that David is recommending as well, and a start of the gravel road conversions which are included in the 2022 budget.

"But beyond that we’re going to have to take a closer look at other projects because there’s quite a list.”

Baker notes that there’s a gap between the recommended sustainable funding value and the budget range of $800,000 to $1 million. 

Key recommendations in the gravel road condition assessment report include: annual funding levels should be increased to the long term sustainability limit of $2 million per year over a 10-year period; inspection interval for condition assessments should be no greater than four years; gravel road conversions to hard top surface should be integrated into the Asset Management Plan as part of a long term asset management strategy.

Council were all in favour of the rehabilitations and recommendations for the gravel roads in Centre Wellington as they know how important road maintenance is for local residents. 

“It has been virtually verified, what my constituents have been yelling at me for a very long time, that we are underfunding our gravel roads, especially my rural constituents,” said Coun. Stephen Kitras. 

Council voted to accept the report.