Aggressive winter puts pressure on roads dept.

By Chad Ingram

Published on Jan. 17 2017

The following are brief reports of items discussed during a Jan. 11 meeting of the Haliburton County roads advisory committee.

Dysart et al Reeve Murray Fearrey said the condition of some county roads has been poor during the first month of what appears will be a snowy winter.

Roads director Craig Douglas responded there have been instances of equipment being down and staff burnout.

Minden Hills Reeve and County Warden Brent Devolin said the county needed to do what was required to ensure roadways are safe.

“We can increase the [salt and sand] application rate” Devolin said. “I know it’s dollars but it’s people’s safety.”

In cases of extreme weather Devolin added he’s fine with hiring external contractors to assist the county roads department.

“It’s going to be a hard winter and we’re going to have to deal with it” said Minden Hills Deputy-reeve Cheryl Murdoch.

“It’s going to be costly” said Fearrey who recommended that during milder periods the county should have graders out scraping away icy ridges.

Anyone travelling through Dorset this spring can expect to take a detour.

During a Jan. 11 Haliburton County roads committee meeting councillors gave roads director Craig Douglas pre-budget approval for work on Dorset’s Main Street bridge.

“2017 is the year it needs to be rehabilitated” Douglas told councillors. “It’s a one-lane bridge so to rehabilitate we have to close it.”

Residents will need to use the Highway 35 bridge during the construction period which it’s hoped will begin in early spring and be complete by the end of June leaving the bridge open for the peak summer season of July and August.

Dorset sits partly in the Haliburton County in Algonquin Highlands township and partly in the District of Muskoka in Lake of Bays township. The project is a joint one between the county and Muskoka with each municipality contributing $500000.

Of Haliburton County’s portion $375000 will come from reserves.

Rehab work was last done on the bridge in 2003.

The tender for the work was issued Jan. 11 with the deadline for bids Jan. 26.

The roads director is recommending an expenditure of approximately $103000 in the 2017 budget for a series of repairs to facilities at county works yards.

These include repairs to the kitchens and washrooms at the Ingoldsby and Highland Grove yards an emergency power generator in Ingoldsby alarm systems for the buildings at the three county works yards and the replacement of large garage door in Eagle Lake.

“The Ingoldsby and Highland Grove washrooms and kitchens are old and run down” a report read. “The kitchen layouts are poor and also serve as storage areas and in the case of Highland Grove it acts a change room with locker.”