County officials seek discussions with province about roads within Northumberland
Northumberland County Transportation Director Mo Pannu outlined key aspects of the Transporation Master Plan, including County Roads 28 and 2, during his presentation to county councillors last week. VALERIE MACDONALD/Northumberland Today
Now that Northumberland County council has passed its long-range transportation plans, several initiatives will be undertaken related to County Road 28 and the impact on county and local roads from Highway 401, county transportation director Mo Pannu said in an interview.
Discussions will be sought with the Ministry of Transportation about possibly uploading the heavy-traffic County Road 28, which was downloaded to the county by the province well over a decade ago.
This road is connected to Highways 401, 7 and the 115, which is more a thoroughfare than a county roadway, Pannu said.
If uploading doesn't happen, the county will be seeking compensation and/or financial assistance to add an extra lane to deal with increasing traffic, he explained.
As it relates to the provincial Highway 401, the county wants the MTO to continue to widen it to six lanes eastward from Burnham Street in Cobourg from the existing four lanes all the way to the Northumberland boundary, he said.
“The MTO right now has no plans” to do that, Pannu added.
Discussions will also centre around the impact on local and county roads when high congestion and accidents bog down the 401 and force detours where traffic is diverted from the provincial highway onto the roads within Northumberland.
“It kind of puts our residents at risk,” Pannu said.
Pannu also provided additional information in an e-mail about the transportation plan that has been in development for about two years.
“This plan outlines the improvements, policies, services and related investments that will support the County in best meeting the mobility needs of our communities over a 20, 30, and 50-year planning horizon.”
In a media release, Northumberland County Warden Mark Walas talked about the importance of the plan.
“This plan lays out a vision for an effective, multi-faceted transportation network throughout Northumberland that will reinforce linkages between our municipalities and foster the thriving, inclusive communities we strive to sustain,” Walas states. “It is a realistic, attainable, economically feasible plan that positions the County to meet the transportation needs of our residents and businesses today and well into the future.”
Looking at just the first 10 years of the plan, there could be investments of up to $4.2-million, the release also states “based on five major guiding principles:
1. Maintain and improve County roads that operate as the primary transportation network throughout Northumberland, ensuring the movement of goods and services between and within all municipalities.
2. Continue investing in – and supporting policy development for – alternative uses of the network, including transit services and active transportation methods such as cycling.
3. Update and develop transportation policies in the County to strengthen day-to-day management of the network.
4. Expand and improve the network at a sustainable level, both from a funding as well as an environmental standpoint.
5. Ensure the network is safe and operating as efficiently as possible.
Council and staff identified the need for this plan in 2012 to best manage the significant social, economic and environmental impacts of a county-wide transportation system over a 50-year horizon.”