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Plains Road West reconstruction survives budget axe

Plains Road West reconstruction survives budget axe

Plains Road West in Aldershot is in such bad shape that drivers need all-terrain vehicles to properly navigate it, according to one Burlington City Councillor.

Ward Three Councillor Rory Nissan made the comment this week in response to an attempt by two other councillors to delay the planned 2021-2022 reconstruction of the road.

Councillors Paul Sharman and Angelo Bentivegna told the Corporate, Risk and Accountability Committee that their main concern about the project was related to the proposed new bike lane that would go along with the road reconstruction.

In the end, the Committee recommended that the entire project be kept in the capital budget.

The City is proposing the complete reconstruction of the road from Waterdown Road to the RBG at a cost of $8.4 million, including a separate bike lane on the north side of the Road. It will be the first time the City has actually separated a bike lane from the road itself. The plan is to realign utilities and do preliminary work this year with final reconstruction in 2022.

Sharman and Bentivegna were objecting primarily to the added cost of the separate bike lane. It is particularly costly because utility poles will need to be relocated.

“I totally would love to have protected bike lanes along Plains Road…….but just not this year” said Sharman who wanted funds for the bike lane to be set aside for routine infrastructure renewal in the City. “It’s not maintaining infrastructure. It’s brand new” said Sharman.

Aldershot Councillor Kelvin Galbraith defended the entire project, including the bike lane.

“The condition of Plains Road West is the number one source of complaints to my office……..the cracks, the ruts…….(it’s) currently very dangerous. We have available land on the north side, so it’s taking a bike lane off the road. This is a kind of pilot project for the City. The Cycling Committee supports this”.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward weighed in pointing out that in the long run the City would be saving money by moving ahead with the project, including the cycling lane.

“To hive off the cycling lanes and do it later actually would cost us more. It would have to be tendered separately. ……. It is not financially prudent to separate the two”

The recommendation to proceed with the project in its entirety now goes to City Council for final approval on January 19th.     By Rick Craven

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