The annual summer time traffic snarl known locally as Picton’s iconic ‘Town Hill’ will be receiving some improvements thanks to an investment by the provincial government.
On Saturday Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith announced the Province is providing The County of Prince Edward $266,848 through the Connecting Links Program for improvements to the intersection of Picton’s Main and Bridge streets.
Running through Prince Edward County’s largest urban area, the municipal route connects two portions of the provincial Hwy 33, making it eligible to receive up to 90 per cent of design and construction costs to renew and replace road and bridge infrastructure. The municipality’s submission was approved following a review of technical need, safety considerations, and cost effectiveness.
“Picton’s town hill has become a very busy place and you often hear stories about drivers who are uncertain about the traffic rules when approaching it,” said Smith. “Our government listened to the County’s concerns about safety and I’m pleased to see them addressed through Connecting Links.”
The improvements will include updated signage, traffic control infrastructure, pedestrian crossings and line painting. Two retaining walls, one on Bridge and one on Main, currently obstruct proper lines of sight for vehicles and pedestrians. They will be replaced as part of this project.
Steve Ferguson, the Mayor of Prince Edward County, was pleased to receive the provincial funding.
“Our County delegation met with Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney, and her staff at the AMO conference in 2020 to explain our concerns with the intersection,” said Ferguson. “Since that meeting, County staff have sought the advice of the local OPP and worked closely with the Ministry of Transportation to identify issues and possible solutions. With Connecting Links funding secured, we look forward to moving ahead with the improvements at the intersection and addressing the longstanding safety concerns for both pedestrian and vehicle traffic.”
In 2021-2022, the Ontario government is investing $30 million through the Connecting Links Program to support projects in 14 municipalities. The maximum funding amount for road projects is $3 million, while the Province has increased maximum funding for bridge projects to $5 million to reflect the higher costs of maintaining and repairing bridges in comparison to roads.
“By investing in our roads and bridges, we’re connecting people to jobs, supporting the movement of goods and creating economic growth in local communities” said Mulroney. “This funding not only helps municipalities maintain local infrastructure, but also supports projects that make roads safer, such as improvements to pedestrian crossings.”
- The town hill project is the second Connecting Links project in Bay of Quinte in the past three years as the City of Belleville’s Sagonaska Bridge replacement project was approved for up to $3 million in 2019-2020.
- Eligible municipalities with road or bridge infrastructure connecting two ends of a provincial highway are encouraged to apply for 2022-2023 Connecting Links funding later this year. To learn more about the program, visit www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/highway-bridges/connecting-links.shtml.
- In Ontario, there are a total of 352 kilometres of Connecting Links, with 70 bridges in 77 municipalities.