McKinlay Road a high priority for council, but not until 2025


By Michael Bennett
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Ridgetown Independent

McKinlay Road will be a top priority for improvements following a successful motion by East Kent Coun. Steve Pinsonneault at a recent municipal council meeting.

However, residents will not see any improvements on the roadway until at least 2025.

Pinsonneault asked that the 1.40kilometre portion of McKinlay Road, between New Scotland Line and Rose Beach Line, be considered for tar and chip treatment in 2024.

The condition of McKinlay Road has deteriorated because of an increase in traffic volume since the November 2018 closure of Rose Beach Line at Atrium Road because of slope and bank failure.

“The traffic level is so high on McKinlay Road that it has taken a toll on the roadway,” Pinsonneault told council. “It’s only 1.4 kilometres, and it won’t be really expensive.”

A petition signed by 165 residents backed Pinsonneault’s motion.

Councillors received email deputations from Charlie Mitton, Jim Brown, Janine and Matt Myers providing their input in support of Pinsonneault’s motion and the impact of the closing on local businesses in Ridgetown.

Pete Rose, a lifelong resident of Rose Beach Line, provided an in-person deputation on behalf of a committee representing 140 residents who live on Rose Beach Line between Kent Bridge and Atrium Roads.

Rose said residents represent a significant tax base to Chatham-Kent, estimated to be $1.2 million per year.

He said since the Rose Beach Line closure, most residents’ route to Ridgetown and other eastern destinations is McKinlay Road to New Scotland Line rather than backtracking to Kent Bridge Road, the closest paved road.

He said because residents are already travelling west on the paved roads, many are taking their business to Blenheim rather than backtracking to Ridgetown, losing business to local merchants.

Rose said residents brought suggestions to enhance McKinlay Road during the community meetings as far back as 2019, but their concerns were ignored, resulting in the poor conditions on the road today.

“We are asking Chatham-Kent to provide a hard surface treatment, such as tar and chip,” Rose said, adding that the committee had received an estimate of about $67,000.

Edward Soldo, general manager of infrastructure and engineering services, said the section of McKinlay Road is not on the 2024 list for tar and chip treatment.

“We did hear from the delegation about a cost of $67,000, I wish I had a contractor to do it for $67,000 but it’s more like $500,000-600,000,” Soldo said.

Soldo said the roadway’s condition and base issues indicate that the solution is not as simple as a tar and chip conversion.

“We’ve heard about the washboarding on the roadway itself, which would indicate a very poor base,” Soldo said. “We need to deal with underlying issues on this roadway, and if we’re going to upgrade it, we need to upgrade it to a proper standard.”

Soldo said there was some consideration for McKinlay Road to be tarred and chipped during the Environmental Assessment study of the area in 2019-20, but the previous road upgrade policy fell under the Local Improvement process and was not carried out.


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