St Thomas Road resident Lynne Martel spoke about the state of her street at Monday night’s council meeting. The northern portion of the road runs from the northern boundary of Russell Township at Russland Road, and is cut off from the rest of the township by Highway 417 in the south.
Martell told councillors that potholes, dirt and frequent use made the road treacherous for walking and cycling, while the suspension on some vehicles had been damaged driving on the street. She said the quality of the road had been an issue for at least 15 years, but the construction of new properties along the road had exacerbated the problem in recent years.
“The road is always patched instead of being permanently repaired,” she said. “Since we’ve been complaining so long… we would like to ask for a budget for permanently repairing our road. I’m not asking for it to be paved, we’re just asking to be able to drive on it without ruining our suspension, being able to bike on it.
Infrastructure Services director Jonathan Bourgon said the gravel portion of St-Thomas Road was part of the township’s 10-year paving plan, but the surface treatment portion was not. However, he said the department would treat the entire stretch of road as one portion at budget time. “We will be bringing that segment of road to next year’s budget consideration,” he said.
If the plan is approved in the 2022 budget, the repairs would be made during the summer of that year. But Mayor Pierre Leroux said a roads tender process with the United Counties of Prescott and Russell for asphalt could lead to an earlier timeframe.
“We have seen in past years that it came back really competitive, so if we get a really competitive year this year, it might be an opportunity to do it sooner rather than later,” he said. “We’ve seen these pictures [of potholes] when we’ve discussed Forced Road, when we’ve discussed MacDonald Road, unfortunately it is a downside of having gravel roads with increased traffic. There’s been a considerable amount of house building and large vehicles on that road in the last few years.”
Martell thanked the councillors for their time. Leroux noted that Martell was the first public speaker to present a delegation during a virtual council meeting, to which she replied that it may not be her last appearance.
“If the road doesn’t get fixed, you’re sure to see me again.”