The message was loud and clear.
The people of Dawn-Euphemia and SouthWest Middlesex want Watterworth Road repaired.
Last April the culvert bridge on the road on the border of the two municipalities collapsed. It couldn’t be fixed at the time because budgets had all been spent.
Signs were put up on the gravel road without homes notifying travelers the road was closed because the bridge was out while Dawn-Euphemia examined how much it would cost to replace the damaged bridge.
When officials found it would cost at least $360,000, they began to question whether the culvert bridge should be fixed at all in a time of tight budgets.
Monday night, the two municipalities held a public meeting to find out what residents thought. Twelve people spoke says Dawn-Euphemia CAO Mike Schnare. “The very clear message is they would like to see the bridge rebuilt and reopened.”
Schnare says two Dawn-Euphemia farmers use the road to access the land they own on Watterworth Road. One has to take his farm equipment an extra 5.3 kilometers to take the long way around to get to his property.
Closing Watterworth Road permanently would also mean people from SouthWest Middlesex traveling to Alvinston and Strathroy would also have to travel an extra distance.
“A lot of people feel it’s the slippery edge of the slope; if you start closing bridges others will follow,” says Schnare.
“They want it and they’re willing to accept tax increases…they don’t speak for the entire municipality but that comment was made a number times.”
Whether that will happen is yet to be seen. Both Dawn-Euphemia and SouthWest Middlesex will discuss the options. If the work goes ahead, the cost will be shared equally between the two municipalities.
Schnare says Dawn-Euphemia is likely to discuss the issue in August and it is unlikely the work would be completed in 2014.