‘If we have to block the roads, we will’: SD&G not happy MTO has no backup for Tuesday CR2 closure

The United Counties building and Provincial Offences Act courthouse at 22 Pitt Street in Cornwall. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

SD&G/SOUTH GLENGARRY – With less than 24 hours before a section of County Road 2 in South Glengarry is scheduled to be shut down, county councillors and staff aren’t happy with the situation left in their lap by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

Two MTO officials presented their work plans to council this morning (Monday) but were met with some stinging criticism of their business practice, namely lack of communication.

And those officials seemed to do little to appease the county’s concerns.

“We don’t support that closure,” SD&G Warden Ian McLeod said.

The contractor under MTO is scheduled to have a four day closure of County Road 2 from Lancaster to Curry Hill as part of a bridge demolition and replacement project.

Transportation Director Ben de Haan also brought up that the county has seen no backup plan should Highway 401 be shut down while County Road 2 is closed. Highway 401 traffic would normally be detoured via County Road 2.

With it shut down, heavy trucks and cars would end up on secondary county roads, many of which are under a spring weight restriction.

“We’re (county) carrying all the risk of a Highway 401 closure,” de Haan told council.

“It doesn’t give me a lot of confidence,” de Haan challenged the MTO brass, who suggested the ministry would “treat you fairly” if there was any road damage.

The MTO also wasn’t 100 per cent sure whether the four day closure would go ahead, given the weather. In that case, it would be delayed a week.

“I don’t have confidence we can arrange a full road evaluation, particularly we don’t know what road they prefer to look at, and have a benchmark created before the closure starts at 8 a.m. tomorrow morning,” de Haan said in an interview with Cornwall Newswatch.

“We’re calling this a planned closure for this project but we don’t have any plan for a 401 closure which is, from my perspective, very frustrating. We identified this some time ago…and we still don’t have an answer,” de Haan said.

During the meeting, Warden McLeod and Coun. Dennis Fife also suggested that the MTO had made promises in the past on two occasions to pay for road damage and never came through. The MTO challenged that assertion.

“If we have to block the roads, we will,” McLeod exclaimed, asserting the county’s position to protect its assets.

“I hope that they heard and the message is delivered very clearly that we’re not willing to accept anything but some kind of revised plan that protects the county infrastructure,” de Haan said.

“It’s like the old adage, don’t make your problem by problem and that’s, unfortunately, where we are at right now.”

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