Lakeshore closure surprise in Plympton-Wyoming

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Plympton-Wyoming councillors are frustrated they didn’t hear about a major construction project which will shut part of Lakeshore Road for the summer.

Starting April 11, Lakeshore Road will be closed from Aberarder Line and Hillcrest Road as the county works on a $2.1 million rehabilitation of the Bonnie Doon Bridge. The project is expected to be complete in September but until then travellers face a detour that for some could be as much as nine kilometres.

The signs notifying drivers of the coming detour went up last week and that’s when councillors started getting calls.

“When they see those signs, our phone rings, our staff’s phone rings, and it just would have been nice to have the information in front of us in advance,” says Plympton-Wyoming Councillor Alex Boughen. He question whether the municipality had any input on whether the road would be closed or if the lanes could be reduced.

Public Works Manager Adam Sobanski says county officials “don’t necessarily get into the weeds” of the issue when they decide whether to close a road. Sobanski says “it came down to that their cost would have been increased by just shy of double to do it in a phased approach,” he told councillors.

Sobanski added the town does receive the county’s five year capital plan each year, however the information in it isn’t always passed on to council members.

Boughen said aside from the lack of information flowing to councillors, the county hasn’t consulted with residents or local business people about how the closure will affect them over the summer months. Councillor Bob Woolvett agreed. “These county roads are within our community, and affects our community and our ratepayers.”

Woolvett urged Mayor Gary Atkinson, who is a member of county council, to bring the issue up.

Atkinson says he plans to address the road closure “especially in our our disappointment of not being notified and as well as the undue stress that puts on our residents and extra travel time.”

Jason Cole, Lambton’s general manager of infrastructure, says the county publishes the five year plan and distributes it to municipalities each year. “I recognize that not that doesn’t always provide enough time for multi year planning for closure.”

And he says the county could have released more details to the public earlier but “if we had told people six months ago, we’d be having this conversation six months ago. If we if we had told people a year and a half ago, we’d be having this conversation…

“We very much appreciate everybody’s patience and cooperation on these projects. Because we do know that there’s big impacts and we know how important it is for people to get to where they need to go quickly for the other 20 years when the structure is fixed.”