TORONTO – Stantec Consulting Ltd., the consultants hired by Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has completed a transportation needs assessment for the Island and is now seeking public input into the preferred options for dealing with the Highway 6 swing bridge at Little Current that were identified in the first phase. The MTO has determined that the bridge is nearing the end of its projected service life and the swing bridge has been identified as the oldest structure on a highway in the province.
According to Carole Paiement, communications services coordinator for the MTO’s North East Region the study being conducted by Stantec included “the development of problem and opportunity statements, identifying and assessing alternatives to the undertaking (how well do the alternatives address the problem and opportunity statements) and publishing the study design report.”
“The transportation needs assessment was presented at the first public information centre held on August 22, 2018,” she said, adding that further information on that assessment could be found in the Study Design Report that was published in November and can be found on the project website.
Ms. Paiement noted that the second public information centre is scheduled for July 17, where “preferred alternatives to the undertaking will be presented, as well as Ontario Heritage Conservation options, the preliminary evaluation criteria and the process that will be used to identify a preferred plan.”
The public information centre, number two, on the swing bridge will take place at the Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre at 66 Meredith Street East in Little Current from 4 to 7 pm. The public information centre will follow a drop-in format and members of the project team will be available to respond to questions from the public.
The public is also encouraged to participate in the study and provide written comments. Information as the project progresses will be made available at the project website at swingbridgestudy.ca and comments can be made there as well.
Ms. Paiement added that engineering, natural environment and socio-economic factors will be taken into consideration when determining alternative methods to the undertaking (what, if anything will be done with the bridge) and that the ministry continues to review and take into consideration all comments received.
“The objectives of public information centre number two is to present and seek input on the results of the assessment of alternatives to the undertaking, the preliminary design alternatives and on the Ontario Heritage Conservation options,” she continued. “Public information centre number two is also an opportunity for the public to review the preliminary evaluation criteria and evaluation process that will be used to identify a preferred plan.”
That preferred plan, whatever form it will take, is expected to be finalized in late 2020.
Changes may be made as the ministry continues to review and take into consideration comments received throughout the study and public information centre number three will be scheduled for sometime in the summer of 2020 and a transportation environmental study report (TESR) will be made available for a 30-day public review at the end of the study.