The availability of grant funding and a desire to get work completed has spurred the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) to add four public works capital projects to this year’s work plan.
There were previously no significant road improvement projects in the original 2022 budget. UCPR council unanimously approved the additional projects when it met on February 23.
According to a report from Director of Public Works Jérémie Bouchard, the Ontario government has allocated $1,475,974 from the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) for 2022. Pandemic-related delays in some industries also made it difficult for the department to complete certain projects already in progress, or already in the 2021 budget before the end of that year.
The OCIF grant was not part of the 2022 budget. The funding will be used for improvements to County Road 8 between Henri Road and 300 metres east of Lemay Street in Clarence-Rockland, and for 3.9 kilometres between County Road 3 and Highway 417 in La Nation. In East Hawkesbury, improvements will be made to County Road 10 between the bridge east of St-Eugene and County Road 31 (Grande Montée).
Two provisional road improvement projects are also planned, if funds permit following the contract bidding process. The provisional projects are in East Hawkesbury, where road improvements are planned for 3.3 kilometres on County Road 25, between County Road 14 and County Road 18, and in La Nation, for County Road 22, between de l’Église Street in St-Bernardin and County Road 23.
Although it is not covered by the OCIF funding, repairs to County Road 20 (Pearl Road) between Concession Road 1 and County Road 10 in Champlain have been added to the UCPR’s plans for 2022. Bouchard’s report describes the road as “in great need of repairs” and the department wants to take action as quickly as possible to avoid future claims, since a previous legal action related to the condition of the road was resolved. The funds to repair the section of County Road 20 will come from a reserve fund.
The third public works project the UCPR is adding in 2022 is the completion of improvements to the intersection of County Road 3 (Principale Street) and County Road 7 (St-Isidore Street) in Casselman. A contractor was retained to begin the work in September 2021, but several delays were encountered – particularly because the work had to be completed in coordination with VIA Rail, because of the adjacent railroad tracks and crossing. A significant amount of work has already been completed, but the UCPR would still like to complete the project in 2022. Funding for its completion will come from a reserve fund in the 2022 budget.
The Public Works Department’s fourth additional 2022 capital project is to purchase three new pickup trucks. The department will use $150,000 from a 2022 budget reserve fund for the expenditure.