May 16, 2022

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Sudbury’s two lanes: The ‘inside lane and the wheel alignment lane’

Councillor wants city to take any extra cash it has to fix its roads

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Some have quipped online this city should be called Crater Sudbury. Driving municipal roadways, it is easy to understand why.

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While Sudburians like to complain about the roads, and often regard each spring as the worst in recent memory, it really does seem like 2022 has battered the city’s thoroughfares to a new low.

Tony Cecutti, the city’s GM of growth and infrastructure, acknowledged last month this has been an especially challenging year for potholes. While there are several factors leading to asphalt anarchy, Cecutti said the freeze/thaw cycle is partly to blame.

Ward 8 Councillor wants city to take any extra cash it has to fix its roads. Al Sizer has taken note and at last week’s meeting of the finance committee, he introduced a motion that could free up more money for roadway remediation.

The 2022 capital budget was approved last December. Sizer understands the city – post-pandemic – is in a tight economic space, but he told The Star that if there is money that has not been spoken for, he wants council to consider boosting the roads budget.

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“I introduced the motion because of the winter we experienced with the frequent freeze/thaw cycles that have been so harsh on roads this winter,” Sizer said in an interview. “With the winter Sudburians have experienced and the effect on our roads within the municipality, I want to be certain that if there are any available monies within the corporation, not currently earmarked for any new capital projects, that some of those excess dollars be used for road remediation.”

In his motion, Sizer noted “roads in the City of Greater Sudbury have experienced significant deterioration during the winter of 2021-22 due to increased freeze/thaw cycles.”

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Roads remain a high priority for many citizens and as a result, council has made annual increases in recent years to its roadwork budget. Despite this, “our asset management plan describes significant unmet requirements,” the motion indicated.

Sizer asked staff to prepare a report “for consideration at the finance meeting of April 19 to present a supplemental road rehabilitation program for the 2022 construction season that includes a recommended scope of work, criteria for choosing rehabilitation locations and a financing plan.”

He said his motion is not intended to impact the levy. He will continue to look for funding sources, including senior levels of government.

Ward 8 Coun. Al Sizer introduced a motion last week to see if any city money could be freed up to help address Sudbury’s very bad roads. The motion was passed unanimously. PHOTO BY JOHN LAPPA/THE SUDBURY STAR
Ward 8 Coun. Al Sizer introduced a motion last week to see if any city money could be freed up to help address Sudbury’s very bad roads. The motion was passed unanimously. PHOTO BY JOHN LAPPA/THE SUDBURY STAR

“I would like to be able to address this issue without affecting the levy. Staff (is) always looking for funding sources to offset the cost of the roadwork and we know how important roadwork is to the community,” Sizer said. “I will continue to ask staff to investigate funding opportunities and efficiencies to ensure the best outcomes for municipal roads.”

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It remains to be seen which roads will be selected for remediation if funding allows for it, but Sizer pointed out potholes are only one consideration amongst many.

“There are many factors that will tell us which roads should see investment dollars first,” he said. “Staff will include these recommendations in the requested report to council in order for us to ensure we are investing in long-term solutions.”

Sizer got unanimous support from his peers, with everyone voting in favour of the motion. Ward 6 Coun. Rene Lapierre said his constituents have been vocal about their concern for the state of the city’s roads.

“I believe this is important to look at because this is the echo we’re hearing from our residents a lot,” Lapierre said. “I believe the more we can get done, if it’s possible, we should at least look at it to see what we can accomplish.”

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The Star reached out to its readers to find out where some of the worst offenders are in this city. The feedback was impressive. A total of 137 comments were made (although not all included suggestions).

Not surprisingly, the West End, one of the oldest areas in the city, got a lot of nods and the College Street underpass got a few shout-outs from irate drivers. In that area, Lorne Street also faced criticism, with one reader commenting it has two lanes: “the inside lane and the wheel alignment lane.”

As one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city, some readers said the Donovan’s roadways also resemble Swiss cheese.

“I’ve a couple: College Street from Elm to Baker is insane,” one person wrote. “Also, Burton Avenue from Frood Road to Jean Street. I dare you to drive it at 20 km/hour. Just giving council a head’s up, because I know they don’t make it towards the Donovan very often.”

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Bancroft also drew the ire of several drivers. The portion from The Kingsway to the Bellevue intersection is particularly awful. The road could stand in for a war zone when the next film shoots in Sudbury.

“You honestly cannot avoid the holes unless you go into oncoming traffic,” one reader noted. “I’ve replaced car parts due to it and it’s not cheap.”

Stafford Street in New Sudbury also got a few mentions.

“Huge random bumps that make you feel like you’re driving over speed bumps every 10 feet, with massive potholes anywhere from three to six feet round and half-a-foot deep or more,” one reader wrote. “You literally need to zig-zag down the street to avoid damaging your vehicle and not go over five miles. My nieces can’t even bike or skateboard safely without hurting themselves.”

With so many roads in disrepair, one reader asked “wouldn’t it be more efficient to list the ‘good’ roads (it’s a very short list). The other 1,000 are deplorable.”

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