One of the last decisions for the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR) council before the Christmas break was to approve a request from the Eastern Ontario Snowmobile Club (EOSC) for approval of a new crossing point on the north side of the County Road 17 right of way near the East Hawkesbury Airport site close to county road boundary between Hawkesbury and East Hawkesbury Township.
EOSC’s Trail 20 on the south side of the county road has been a regular snowmobiler’s route for three decades. A culvert replacement project by the UCPR last year forced the EOSC to look at relocating the trail to the north side of the road. The EOSC decided this was a safer option rather than have snowmobilers detour around the culvert by going onto the shoulder of the county road and creating possible traffic accident risks.
The new route would pass over an unnamed creek. The EOSC wants to build a standard steel heavy-duty snowmobile crossing over the creek. The crossing bridge would be good for at least three decades.
The EOSC wants to build the permanent crossing bridge later in 2023 after the snow is gone. For now, it asked the UCPR for permission to set up a temporary crossing in December for the 2022-2023 snowmobiling season. The temporary crossing involved using a six-foot culvert placed in the ditch and covered with snow to allow snowmobilers to cross over the creek without affecting the flow of water.
The temporary crossing will help maintain the link between the snowmobile trails in the Prescott-Russell region with those in Québec. This will ensure the cross-border travel for snowmobiling at that point, which is an important part of the local snowmobiling tourism sector.
The EOSC will own both the temporary and the later permanent crossing and be responsible for liability insurance coverage and also for any signage related to the new route and the creek crossing.
UCPR council approved the request.