Woolwich will need millions to improve standards of its road network, says report

[Faisal Ali / The Observer]

Woolwich should be setting aside millions of dollars to maintain its roads, according to a report released this week.

The road needs study presented to council Tuesday night calls for a big increase in preventative maintenance, arguing every dollar spent today saves five dollars years down the road. To follow the prescribed course, however, the township would have to commit multiples of what it now spends each year on roadwork.

Some $3.6 million is needed each year for the combined efforts of maintaining paved, tar-and-chip, and gravel roads, says David Anderson, president of 4 Roads Management Services.

Big picture, the township’s current needs involves $115 million in road work, $69 million to rebuild roads in poor condition and another $46 million for those with one to 10 years left before they pass the point of no return, sliding into rebuild territory.

On a scale where 70 out 100 is the desired state for the assessment of all roads, Woolwich is currently at 57, said Anderson.

“About 45 per cent of the roads are good to very good,” he said. “Those are reasonable numbers.

“I think your system is not in bad shape right now.”

That said, the overall state of the roads is trending somewhat downward.

“System adequacy has decreased,” said Anderson, pointing to insufficient funding for improvement projects.

Woolwich has long been a proponent of keeping the good roads good but carrying out maintenance on those routes still in decent shape before they deteriorate, requiring more work with larger budgets.

To get the system back on track to the target of a 70 rating, about $21 million in upgrades would be needed, he noted.

Anderson also recommended the township keep up its traffic counts, taking notes of trucks in particular, as those heavy vehicles are the ones that really rip up the roads.

“The effect of trucks on the road is huge.”

Referencing the report, Coun. Larry Shantz noted that Anderson reports some roads in the new subdivisions, some still under construction, have a thin, inadequate layer of asphalt.

“They’re not done to standard?”

Anderson replied with an adage he developed about keeping on top of developers as they do the work on new roads that will eventually be turned over to the municipality.

“You get what you inspect, not what you expect,” he said.

In that vein, Coun. Patrick Merlihan asked if Anderson had expected new roads in current subdivisions such as those under construction in Elmira, with the consultant responding in the affirmative, noting the substandard paving applied in some cases.

Mark Pomponi, the township’s director of planning, said the subdividers’ agreements with developers give the township the right to demand poor work be corrected before final approval of the project.

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