Eganville – Further delays on the rehabilitation of County Road 512 due to the relocation of Hydro One and Bell poles are unacceptable for Bonnechere Valley Mayor Jennifer Murphy.
“This road is not only in the need of rehabilitation. It is actually dangerous,” she told Renfrew County councillors last Wednesday.
The assembled mayors and reeves heard the tender for close-cut clearing along the road, which is also known as Foymount Road, from Miller Road to Harrington Creek Bridge, closed on April 7.
“As the project is proceeding, county staff reached out to staff at Bell and Hydro One to advise that clos-ecut clearing is anticipated to be completed by June 2,” McNab/Braeside Mayor Tom Peckett, the chair of the Operations Committee, noted in his report. “Bell staff have advised that utility relocations could take up to one year to complete due to the large number of poles to be relocated and 83 requiring rock drilling.”
He noted county staff reached out to both Bell and Hydro and they are in the process of preparing a plan by which the utility companies could complete a portion of the relocations at the west end of the project by mid to late August so work could be completed on this section of the road. The report also stated further coordination will be required with Hydro and Bell to ensure that no issues arise with two contractors working in the same area.
Warden Debbie Robinson said she was very concerned about the possibility of delays on Highway 512. The project had been delayed due to issues with acquiring some properties for the realignment of the road. It had been scheduled to be completed last year.
“This is crucial to us moving forward with the rehabilitation of County Road 512,” she said.
The warden said staff have been working with Bell and Hydro and she would like to see a report at the May 10 meeting of the Operations Committee on the progress of the discussions.
“I know staff are working and we do not want to see this delayed once again,” the warden said.
Mayor Murphy said any delay in rehabilitation of this section of road is unacceptable.
“The people that drive the road have been waiting and waiting and waiting for this section to be done,” she said. “Delaying it another year is a non-starter.”
She will be writing a letter herself to both Bell and Hydro One on this issue, she added. She also asked for a letter to be sent from the county signed by Warden Robinson.
The letter would let them know the delay is unacceptable and the work must be done early this year in time for the road to be reconstructed this year.
“It can’t be done in October,” Mayor Murphy said. “It has to be done now. I think about the amount of money all of us spend with Bell and Hydro each month. They can come to the party for us. We are just as important as any other place in Ontario.”
Brudenell, Lyndoch and Raglan Mayor Sheldon Keller said he understands the concern voiced by Mayor Murphy. He pointed out this was discussed at the Operations Committee level as a concern as well.
“Negotiations of course with Bell and Hydro could not occur until the property acquisitions were complete so that is probably part of the delay,” he said, adding a letter from the warden is warranted.
Admaston/Bromley Mayor Michael Donohue asked when the county was aware the utility relocation was required. “Is this standard?” he said. “If there is this kind of lead time or if this is an outlying situation.”
Director of Operations Lee Perkins pointed out this project has been going on for a number of years. Both utilities were aware of the project and the need for relocations, he said.
“Unfortunately, until we acquired all the land, they could not readjust their utilities as such,” he said. “Fortunately, we have now acquired all the land.”
Bell and Hydro have assured the county “to a degree” the western section of the roadway can be done this year, he added.
“The bad section is actually closer to Heidemans (sawmill),” he said.
The letter will be sent to Bell and Hydro ASAP, Mr. Perkins said.
Close-cut Clearing Tender
Later in the report, council approved the contract with Six Nations Aecon Joint Venture of Toronto for close-cut clearing along County Road 512 from Miller Road to Harrington Creek Bridge. The contract was for $151,477.44 plus HST. Six Nations Aecon was the only bidder.
In the report to council, it was noted “reconstruction of this section of road requires substantial utility relocations in order to accommodate realignment of the deficient horizontal curves. To accommodate these utility relocations and improve sightlines throughout the project, clearing of all trees from within the new county right-of-way is required.”
The current 2022 Capital Works budget includes funds in the amount of $2,336,180 for the reconstruction of this section of County Road 512.
Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader