Highway 17 maintenance 0
The county’s public works and engineering department will seek clarification from the Ministry of Transportation about winter maintenance standards along Highway 17.
At its monthly meeting Monday, the County of Renfrew operations committee reviewed a letter from Petawawa Councillor Treena Lemay who serves as chairwoman of the Petawawa Police Services Board. In the letter she raises concerns on behalf of members of police services boards in Renfrew County with relation to what she calls a “rumour from a very reliable professional and responsible source that the MTO is reviewing and/or considering an extension of the downgrading of the snow/winter clearing standards for Highway 17 coming east of the current cut-off at the area of the Petawawa Plains.”
In presenting the letter Dave Darch, the county’s public works and engineering director, indicated the topic of winter maintenance was discussed during a meeting in Ottawa with MTO officials to address Highway 17 related issues. While the MTO has confirmed it is not proposing reduced maintenance standards for Highway 17, staff did advise that they have a new maintenance contractor commencing in the area in the fall.
The MTO staff has advised that winter maintenance standards are determined based on the winter average day traffic volumes, with a threshold of 10,000 vehicles per day. Class I standards apply to highways with traffic volumes in excess of 10,000 vehicles per day and Class II standards apply to highways with traffic volumes of 10,000 vehicles per day or less. This practice is applied to all highways in the province, Mr. Darch noted.
If there is any truth to the rumour about the downgraded maintenance standards, the driving public has a right to know now, especially motorists travelling to and from Atomic Energy of Canada Limited and CFB/ASU Petawawa, Coun. Lemay stated in her letter.
“I am confident you appreciate that all of us need to know that the government is committed to ensuring safe driving conditions, especially after hearing of the dreadful fatality statistics of one death a month on average for the past 4.5 years,” she wrote.
Further clarification about the maintenance standards can be sought in October as Kathy Moore, Eastern region director for the MTO, and her staff will appear as a delegation at the county council meeting. Mr. Darch anticipates the ministry will provide information about its new maintenance-delivery system and capital improvement work scheduled for provincial highways within the county in the next five years.
Coming out of the meeting with Transportation Minister Bob Chiarelli was an agreement to form a joint working committee and Mr. Darch is hoping the terms of reference will be disclosed at the October meeting.
Tina Peplinskie is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist