Hwy 540 being operated safely, MTO rep states

WESTERN MANITOULIN—While Western Manitoulin residents are upset with road conditions on Highway 540, the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) says that the highway is operating safely. Local resident have raised concerns with the large amount of dust created on the road when it is dry and vehicles are travelling on the highway, as well as loose stones causing driving to be treacherous, with blown tires and windshields being damaged reported.

“The highway is operating safely,” said Gordan Rennie, regional issues and media advisor with the MTO northeastern region, in an email to the Recorder. “However, we appreciate the feedback about the recent project.”

Mr. Rennie explained, “this section of Highway 540 (west of Indian Point Bridge) is referred to as a surface treated highway, which is a common surface for lower volume provincial highways. The recent work involved a single surface treatment application, which includes a new layer of gravel and emulsion, which is then rolled to provide a hard surface.”

“Surface treatment will initially appear rough and sound loud when travelling in a vehicle, but will become quieter and smoother as the material wears,” said Mr. Rennie. “Dust is also normal when the surface treatment is done, but dissipates after a couple of weeks. It generally takes a few weeks for surface treatment to cure and for float (loose stones) to be removed.”

“The existing surface treatment had some areas with potholes, but they were filled with cold mix pavement prior to the single surface treatment being placed,” continued Mr. Rennie. “MTO is monitoring the highway and will ensure that any potholes are addressed quickly. As well, there is a two-year warranty on the work by our contractor.”

Ken Noland, reeve of Burpee-Mills, provided a letter to the Recorder from Eric Doidge, regional director of the MTO, in August 23, 2010, which states in part, “the ministry current study for Highway 540 includes the surface treatment through the hamlet of Evansville in a few years’ time. When the ministry begins planning for that project we will contact the township to review options for a pilot project using aggregate or a slurry seal.”

“No, we have heard nothing from the ministry since about this,” Mr. Noland told the Recorder. He added, “the thing that bothers me is we raised legitimate concerns previously, and the MTO said they were going to address the problem but they haven’t.”

Mr. Rennie added, “the ministry’s regional operations manager will be reaching out to the township to conduct a site visit and discuss their concerns.”

Tom Sasvari