File photo

File photo

Ponoka County relieved as highway maintenance issues addressed

Council was worried about possible changes with new contractor

Ponoka County council and administration are feeling a bit more at ease about maintenance on secondary highways in the municipalities.

CAO Charlie Cutforth explained at the Oct. 22 meeting that a conversation has been had with current road maintenance contractor Mainroad and with Alberta Transportation about concerns primarily regarding secondary highways 761, 604 and 611.

The issue the county has is regarding the placement of graders by the contractor and how often snow clearing will be done, considering the complaints from area residents on how few times the gravel portions of these roads were bladed this past summer after Mainroad took over the contract.

“(Mainroad) is looking to locate two graders in the immediate areas and have since bladed 761, as they got some complaints too,” Cutforth stated.

“They seem to be keeping a better eye on things as of late, but residents’ biggest fear is that if it’s not being done when the weather is reasonable, what will happen when it’s snow plowing time?”

He added that the county asked if there would be concerns from Alberta Transportation if the county sub-contracted to Mainroad for that area, and was told that wouldn’t be an issue.

“We are currently blading around the area now and that drives the local residents crazy,” said Cutforth, “And it looks really bad on everybody.”

Reeve Paul McLauchlin echoed the rest of council’s thoughts on the matter by adding there is not much more embarassing than watching a county grader drive by on a road that needs work and not do it.

Council agreed with the idea and directed administration to move forward with it.

Cutforth also explained that the county is waiting to hear back from the department regarding its proposal on repaving or extending pavement on some of the secondary highways in the county.

He added the letter that was initially sent last fall ended up falling through the cracks after there was a change in personnel at the department, so the letter had to be re-sent recently.

Details of the proposal weren’t released, but Cutforth told council he anticipates a response back from the department fairly soon.

“If they accept it, then it would be good to have a timeline for it being done, especially if we plan to meet with them again at the RMA (Rural Municipalities of Alberta) conference next month,” he said.