County to spend estimated $10M in 2016 on infrastructure improvements
The Windsor Star/Julie Kotsis
The county has plans to increase spending on infrastructure rehabilitation by more than $500,000 in 2016, bringing the estimated total up to just over $10 million.
Council on Wednesday pre-authorized $6,692,000 worth of projects — including improvements to six roadways — for “early release.”
Engineer Tom Bateman said the county has found the early release approach allows for completion of projects on an expedited schedule with highly competitive tender results.
Council has not yet approved the 2016 budget. Deliberations are to being Feb. 3.
Bateman said the county’s annual spending target for work on roads, bridges and major culverts is $11.2 million, as outlined in the 2013 asset management plan, so there is a funding gap. That gap continues to grow for many reasons including market forces.
“I think we’re spending as much as we can,” said Warden Tom Bain. “The bottom tax line, you just can’t clobber the taxpayer and we’ve got a huge expense coming up with the mega hospital.”
Bain said rising costs play a big factor too, especially the cost of asphalt, which hasn’t dropped commensurate with the drop in the price of oil.
Utilization of the federal gas tax revenue program has helped the county increase annual rehabilitation spending. In 2016, the federal contribution is $2,161,320 and the county has allocated $7,850,890, an increase of $552,920 over 2015.
Utilization of the federal gas tax revenue program has allowed the county to increase annual rehabilitation spending. In 2016, the federal contribution is $2,161,320. The county has allocated $7,850,890, an increase of $552,920 over 2015.
Bateman said infrastructure spending is focused on a “series of preservation projects” and includes engineering work for future projects.
The pre-approved road projects include pavement rehabilitation in Kingsville on County Road 29 from Highway 3 to County Road 18, County Road 14 from County Road 27 to Graham Side Road and County Road 27 between County Roads 8 and 14.
County Road 10 between County Roads 9 and 11 in Amherstburg, County Road 18 from County Road 31 to Highway 77 in Leamington and Country Road 46 from County Road 25 to Lakeshore Road 217 in Lakeshore are also on the list.
Leamington Deputy Mayor Hilda MacDonald said County Road 20 between Leamington and Kingsville should be placed on the priority list.
“The road should be done in less that five years,” MacDonald said, pointing out growing hazards for cyclists from potholes.
Four bridge projects — at Silver Creek, Belle River, Pike Creek and River Canard — will be fast-tracked as well as two culvert replacements in Lakeshore.