Petawawa roads in decline: report
Town of Petawawa Municipal Building
Despite the town's best efforts to keep up, Petawawa's roads are deteriorating faster than they can be repaired, councillors heard at the latest committee meeting on Monday night, July 25.
In his 2016 road inventory - conditions report, public works director David Unrau explained to council that the town uses a 1-10 scale to establish the overall condition of any given road, and that the average condition of all roads within the municipality was currently sitting at a 5.6, well short of the 7.0 minimum target rating established by their asset management plan.
The news got worse for the town when it was pointed out, through a report filed by Jp2g consultants, that the 5.6 rating was boosted by the presence of brand new roads in various subdivisions that were not yet built at the time of the last road inventory in 2011. Without those brand new roads, the overall average for roads existing in 2011 falls to 5.46.
According to the scale used by the town, roads scoring an eight or higher are in great shape, and require at most preventative maintenance, while scores between six and eight might require a minimal amount of crack filling or minor repair work to ensure that the lifespan of the road is kept as high as possible.
"Once you get below six and down into the four and five," says Unrau, "that's when the road is just too bad to do crack filling. there's just too many, and you're left doing a shave-and-pave rehabilitation or a full reconstruction."
While the overall average condition of Petawawa roads has been declining with each consecutive inventory (2001, 2007 and 2011 were the previous years where the roads were assessed), the latest drop was comparatively precipitous. From 2001 to 2007, the rating fell by 5.23 per cent, according to Jp2g's analysis. From 2007 to 2011, the drop was a gentler 2.39 per cent. Over the past five years, however, the rating fell by a significant 14.37 per cent (16.51 without the boost from the brand new roads).
Unrau concluded his report with a Sophie's Choice type list of equally unpalatable options, including simply changing the metric so that 5.6 was no longer beneath their target for road quality, standing by and letting the road conditions continue to decline, or increasing the budget to allow for a much more aggressive pursuit of their Asset Management Plan targets.
"It just highlights how much we need the province to help out for us to get things to where they want them to be," said Mayor Bob Sweet after rejecting outright the first two options. "I don't know how we could catch up unless the federal and provincial governments belly up to the bar and pitch in."
Other councillors echoed Sweet's general lament of the Catch-22 that the town, along with many other Ontario municipalities, finds itself in, facing provincial requirements to establish and maintain Asset Management Plan standards without receiving additional funding to do so.
"We're just going to keep falling behind if the province and the feds don't give us some sort of support like they do for the big cities," noted Councillor Theresa Sabourin.