Bad roads and potholes dominate council talks

potholeRoads across Norfolk County, and the potholes within them, accounted for the greatest amount of discussion at the Feb. 25 county council meeting. All members of council had a story to tell about the condition of the roads in their ward mentioning some of the worst situations of potholes and broken pavement.
There are 2,200 kms of roads in Norfolk County.
Early in the discussion General Manager Eric D’Hondt of Public Works agreed, saying “there are a lot of potholes out there,” adding “we are doing some extensive patching on some of them”. It was pointed out that filling the pothole with asphalt is not a permanent fix as traffic over them removes the material. Engineers are trying to find a better solution.
Later in the discussion Mr. D’Hondt reminded councillors that he had mentioned in a report “we are only able to do only half of what we need”.
Councillor Peter Black declared, “Council needs to put more dollars into the budget. He told the meeting that people in Port Dover are questioning, “are we getting our fair share,” and that people in other communities are asking the same question.
The Simcoe councillor said he intends to design a formula (with help from staff) to present to council. It will fairly allocate funding to all seven wards that make up Norfolk County.
Councillor Black noted the overall condition of roads across Norfolk Council “is dropping” to what they used to be.
A suggestion was made that every councillor summit a list of ‘road needs’ in their ward. Mr. D’Hondt stated his department has eight or ten binders available of all the roads in the county.
County Manager Keith Robicheau stated that the extreme changes in temperature do affect the road conditions. The frigid Arctic air has contributed to the bad road conditions.
Mayor Dennis Travale noted what is under the road is important in maintaining the surface.
Councillor Charlie Luke asked councillors if they could remember a winter that had similar conditions as this winter, commenting, “when the frost comes out it will be worse”. The councillor stated, “I am impressed with (Norfolk) work crews,” noting how they plow and clear away snow, sand the roads, chip ice away at drains, saying “the roads department works well”.
Mayor Dennis Travale stated how council sets it capital budget in the fall and how they “bite the bullet” with costs so not to increase taxes.
Councillor Michael Columbus stated the road situation is a common problem right across the County, agreeing with Councillor Black’s comment for a formula to allocate funds to each ward.
Councillor Roger Geyens said, “my constituents believe they are not getting their fair share, let’s make sure we all get our fair share”.
Concerns with high snow banks created by snowplows in the St. Williams community was brought to light by Councillor Betty Chanyi. She mentioned that motorists could not properly see traffic. Mayor Travale mentioned that snowmobilers are also a safety issue.

Posted: March 5, 2014

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