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Mayor Linton: Time is right to upload Fergus portion of Highway 6 to county

by Mike Robinson

ELORA - Mayor Kelly Linton says Centre Wellington’s connecting link portion of Highway 6 in Fergus should be uploaded to Wellington County.

As part of his mayor’s report on May 28, Linton reminded township councillors that during discussions regarding the St. David Street bridge (Highway 6) rehabilitation, staff was directed to contact Wellington County.

Centre Wellington had sought financial assistance because the construction costs had risen above original estimates.

“As expected, there was not a lot of interest in the county setting a precedent to pay Centre Wellington funds for our higher-than-expected costs,” said Linton.

However, he added another discussion arose regarding the county taking over the St. David Street bridge once it was built.

Linton, who noted there are significant construction and maintenance costs on the road, said the county recently approved a policy to reclassify certain local roads as county roads.

Linton explained that when traffic exceeds a certain volume for three consecutive years, local roads can be transferred to the County of Wellington for further capital and maintenance requirements.

“Initially when that came up at (county council) my antenna went up because I knew St. David Street and the portion of Highway 6 within the urban area of Fergus would meet that criteria,” said Linton.

He noted the average daily traffic on Tower Street from the bridge averages 17,407 to 23,260 vehicles per day; and between the bridge and the north edge of Fergus traffic averages 10,256 to 14,606 vehicles per day.

“So it does easily exceed the criteria set out by the county,” Linton said.

He added a request for the county to take over the road was brought forward during a recent meeting with the Wellington County roads committee.

The committee’s response was that “it was never the intent to take over (highway) connecting link roads,” said Linton, who added county staff was directed to determine the financial implications to the county of taking over such roads.

He said there are three other highway connecting link roads in Wellington County and acknowledged if Centre Wellington’s request was granted, other municipalities in the county would make similar requests.

“We are waiting right now to hear what Wellington County has to say,” said Linton. “I’ll be pushing for the county to take over the road because I think the policy was clearly stated when it adopted and I think this is a fit.”

Councillor Steven VanLeeuwen noted Centre Wellington has made a significant investment in the St. David Street bridge and asked, “Is there some type of trade off for different roads or funding?”

Linton said “it is still our bridge right now, and we are the ones who received funding from the province for this.”

At the same time, councillors are aware of significant infrastructure work slated for St. David Street north of the bridge.

“If this goes through, the costs would be borne by the county,” Linton said. “The policy is pretty clear ... so this (request) is worth a shot.” He added the township has long questioned why such a regional road was downloaded to the township in the first place.

For related story click here.

June 8, 2018


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