Lambton backs away from paved shoulders

Cyclist likely won’t be finding wide-paved shoulders on all Lambton County roads anytime soon.

St. Clair Township Mayor Steve Arnold suggested the idea saying a wide shoulder would give cyclists a safe place to ride and would reduce accidents. Council agreed until it heard weeks later from county staff about what it would cost.

St. Clair Township Mayor Steve Arnold

St. Clair Township Mayor Steve Arnold

The plan was to keep spending the same amount of money, but reduce the number of kilometers paved. Staff suggested it would mean a 33 percent reduction of projects and would mean it would take about 29 years to replace a road which is only built with a 20 year life. Staff suggested only roads designated in the county trail system would have the wide shoulder.

When the issue came up for debate at county council, Arnold again made an impassioned plea saying not every community is part of the trail system.

“The single two largest municipalities are not on the trail system,” he says. “Most trail roads are in the villages and small towns.”

Arnold adds the idea was to make the roads safer for commuter traffic. “It’s very important to show that we’re all equal, that we’re all important and equal.”

Sarnia City/County Councilor Bev MacDougall says in an ideal world, wide-paved shoulders on every road would be wonderful.  “But when the report from staff came out saying we would be doing far fewer roads in the county – that was the tipping point.”

County councilors will rehash just which roads could be part of the wide-shoulder program at the next committee meeting in mid-February.