Are North Grenville roads really that bad?


Will we ever go through a complete calendar year without the familiar buzz of North Grenville residents complaining about local roads being in a state of disrepair? Not likely. The same can almost certainly be said for every municipality in our area. Roads are probably one of the first things municipal taxpayers think of when it comes to where their tax dollars are going, so it makes sense that anything other than perfectly smooth roads feels like a bumpy ride of municipal money mismanagement. One thing a lot of people don’t realize, however, is that roads are expensive – very expensive. 

Overhauling an existing gravel road by filling in potholes with a dumping of fresh gravel costs about $60,000 per kilometre, according to my own recent research. That number becomes $600,000 per kilometre when talking about completely paving a bad road. These numbers may have to be adjusted to account for inflation, or specific local considerations,  but they give a solid idea of what road maintenance costs. At these figures, North Grenville could have spent its entire tax revenue for 2022 paving just 27 kilometres of road. Yikes!

Tax dollars can only go so far, and roads have always been, and will always be, paved or repaired a few at a time. Some roads will develop potholes in the time it takes others to be repaired. Complaining about this is akin to hearing a patient be called in to see the doctor from the hospital waiting room only to complain that the hospital is not doing its job because a new patient simultaneously walked in the front door to be triaged. 

Some potholes are admittedly inexcusable in their wrath. Potholes that damage vehicles or present a safety concern should certainly be repaired immediately. There were recently several complaints about a particular pothole on County Road 43, near the plaza known as “Community Square”. This pothole is an example of one of the particularly unforgiving ones. When it comes to County Road 43 specifically, Mayor Nancy Peckford was able to provide some insight. 

“Unfortunately, the continued degradation of 43 may be getting people’s attention, but we are very close to proceeding with the CR 43 expansion and rehabilitation,” said Mayor Peckford, who is also the Warden for the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville. “Public works actively patrols to inspect and repair all road issues on a scheduled basis.”

Complaints about roads seem to work on a schedule, with times during the year that have few complaints, and other times when complaints abound. North Grenville Director of Public Works Karen Dunlop offered an explanation for this. “The freeze thaw cycle of going from freezing to above zero temperatures definitely creates the conditions for potholes,” said Director Dunlop. “We have not seen an increase in potholes compared to previous years. Crews go out and repair regularly when we are not plowing, and use cold patch to fill.”

With spring less than two months away, pothole season is coming fast. Particularly unforgiving potholes can be reported by emailing [email protected]



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here