UPDATE: Two-way traffic possible again for Erie Shore Drive

Erie Shore Drive flooding. November 16, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Jason Homewood of LTVCA)

UPDATE: Municipal council voted 15-1 to remove the concrete blocks from Erie Shore Drive in order to re-establish two-way traffic on the road. 

It is estimated that $50,000 of internal labour and $50,000 in equipment rental and contractor services costs will be required to complete the project.

The equipment rentals and contractor services costs will be varianced to the 2022 Public Works Operational budget.

 


A motion that will be up for discussion during Chatham-Kent council on Monday night signals an important step forward for Erie Shore Drive.

On Monday, councillors will vote on whether or not to remove concrete blocks from Erie Shore Drive and re-establish two-way traffic on the road. Also up for approval is repealing a bylaw that was put in place regarding the closing of the road.

On February 28, 2020 the Municipality of Chatham-Kent declared a state of emergency along the roadway due to the substantial risk of conditions developing that would render the Erie Shore Drive dike unstable with progressive failures potentially leading to a significant breach and catastrophic flooding. A few days later, council unanimously voted in favour of closing a portion of Erie Shore Drive indefinitely to allow for dike repairs.

At the April 6, 2020 council meeting, council approved bylaw #48-2020 which included reopening a section of Erie Shore Drive as a one-way local traffic-only road and implementing several restrictions on the use of the road based on a geotechnical assessment of it completed by Golder Associates Ltd.

Some of the restrictions included:

– The road will be for one-way traffic only, operating from west to east

– The maximum rate of speed for the road will be 20 km/hr

– There will be no stopping, standing or parking of any vehicle on the road

Throughout the past two and a half years, Chatham-Kent’s Public Works Department has continued to actively monitor Erie Shore Drive to ensure the safety of the residents. As part of its monitoring of Erie Shore Drive conditions, Chatham-Kent has regularly requested updates from the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority on lake levels in Lake Erie and the potential for flooding.

According to the staff report going to council, lower lake levels have recently been recorded by the conservation authority over a sustained period of time. Public Works has also noted reduced flooding events in recent months and has not had an event that required road closure of Erie Shore Drive so far in 2022.

“Based on these findings, administration is recommending that the concrete blocks installed along Erie Shore Drive, forming part of the interim remedial works noted by Golder, be removed,” the report read. “Staff estimate a cost of $100,000 to use internal Public Works labour with a rented excavator to complete the work over a two-week period later this month.”

Administration is also recommending that byaw 48-2020 be repealed.

“As discussed, the bylaw implemented a number of measures based on Golder’s March 2020 recommendations which are no longer required given the lower lake levels predicted for at least the coming year,” read the report. “With the repeal of the bylaw, all measures implemented by the bylaw will be removed. Erie Shore Drive will again accommodate two-way traffic and return to its previously posted speed limit of 40 km/hr. Public Works will stockpile the concrete blocks for future needs.”