TOWN ROADS – “ADDRESSING THE NEEDS”
The Town of Lincoln is currently responsible for maintaining approximately 300km of roadway including 49 bridges and 130 culverts. Prior to 1990, the Province of Ontario administered a significant road subsidy program. The subsidy program recognized that much of the road infrastructure in rural areas served to benefit a much broader area than the local municipality that was responsible for its repair. Unfortunately, during the 1990’s, the Province of Ontario began to withdraw its financial support for municipal roads and by 1996, no direct provincial funding remained. This withdraw of support had a significant impact on the ability of municipalities with significant agricultural land base, like Lincoln, to fund ongoing road works.
In 2005, the Federal Government then introduced an initiative (Federal Gas Tax Funding) that would assist local municipalities to undertake environmentally sustainable infrastructure projects. With the help of this funding, the Town has been able to complete road rehabilitation/construction projects that may have otherwise been placed further down the priority list. However, even with the help of this funding, it became apparent that the Town’s road network was deteriorating at a more rapid rate than can be repaired or rehabilitated. Accordingly, in 2012 Council committed to increasing the Capital Budget of the Road Resurfacing Program to $1,000,000 in an effort to effectively regain the road infrastructure’s poor state of repair and bring it back to a sustainable level of care.
An updated Road Needs Study was completed in 2013 and the findings and outcomes of the study have provided the basis for ongoing capital and operational, road related projects and programs. The purpose of the update was to provide the Town with the proper tools for sustainable asset management of the entire road network and allow for long range planning and continued maintenance of the existing and future infrastructure. The information provided in the update has also been used to provide budgetary estimates for annual (major capital) road reconstruction and minor capital/operational (e.g. crack sealing) requirements. Moving forward, the Public Works Department is encouraged that with the support of Council and annual funding commitments by the Federal Government, the roads infrastructure will be effectively managed and sustainable in the years to come.