Road Reconstruction Becoming Too Costly For Essex

The Town of Essex may see fewer road reconstruction projects in the near future.

Director of Infrastructure and Development Chris Nespzy says projects that rip up the street to put in new curb and gutter along with a repaved road are becoming far too costly.

In his 2018 budget presentation, Nepszy advised council to only move forward on those kinds of projects if the town can secure grants from other levels of government or elsewhere. Nepszy noted a roughly two-block stretch of Irwin Ave. would not be included in the 2018 budget despite some resident complaints, because it's in generally good condition and the ball park cost for a full blown reconstruction sat at around $600,000.

Nepszy says ripping up roads is hard to do on the back of property taxes alone.

"The big reconstruction projects are a huge burden, they're a huge expense," says Nespzy. "I don't want to move away from them necessarily, I just think we need to shelf them and wait for an opportunity where we can fund them."

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Director of Infrastructure and Development for the Town of Essex, Chris Nepszy, makes a presentation during 2018 budget talks on November 13, 2017. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

He feels council recognizes the funding challenge.

"I think council's in a tough spot — again there's a lot of need and there's only so much money. I think they're looking for ways to be creative and provide that value to their residents," says Nepszy. "In doing this we can still replace some infrastructure need that we have, but as well get some value and stretch that as far as we can go."

Essex councillor Randy Voakes called on administration to include the Irwin Ave. project, but Mayor Ron McDermott feels administration knows best.

"They know what's going on out there, we don't. I ride around town kissing babies and everything, other people work at Chrysler and this guy works at Hiram Walker, we don't know what's going on in town here. I've always said, 'Let administration do their job, that's what we pay them to do.'"

The town has seen major reconstruction projects on Erie Street North in Harrow as well as Jenner Street and Fairview Avenue in Essex Centre in recent years.

Making the list for roadwork in 2018 is North Malden Road, Gore Road, the 8th Concession and Craig Beach.