Warwick to pay extra for Zion Line reconstruction

Warwick Township sign. Blackburn News Sarnia (File photo by Melanie Irwin)

Additional funding has been approved to reconstruct a Warwick Township road, which has been heavily used during Highway 402 closures.

Nearly $270,000 was assigned to cover the cost of engineering and the reconstruction of Zion Line in the 2022 capital budget, but a recent field review determined its condition had deteriorated significantly since a 2020 paved roads study was done.

Mayor Jackie Rombouts said as a result, an additional $160,000 was needed to bring the road back up to the required standard.

“Unfortunately, the RFP [request for proposal] came in higher than we had hoped, but we have decided that it’s still a worthy project and that the road needs work for sure, so we’re going to go forward with it,” said Rombouts.

In a report to council, staff identified an occupation on Highway 402 in February as the “likely cause of the rapid deterioration.”

Westbound Highway 402 east of Nauvoo Road was closed for six days when farm vehicles and pedestrians occupied the highway to protest COVID-19 mandates.

For nearly a week, traffic was diverted to county roads and there was increased truck traffic on Zion Line.

“It’s just, you know, wear and tear and extra traffic on that road doesn’t help,” Rombouts said. “We have had the 402 shut down on a number of occasions, so traffic gets rerouted which is never a good thing for a road and you get bigger farm machinery as well that adds to the extra weight and it just deteriorates the road quicker.”

Mayor Rombouts said the reconstruction will reinforce the road, but not to the same level as a county road.

“We always try to improve the roads. With every new road that you do, you learn something new and you make it that much more reinforced. It will never be a county road, but I don’t think it’s expected to be of that caliber.”

The reconstruction project, from Nauvoo Road to Sexton Road, has not yet been awarded.

Tenders for the project are being accepted until July 12 and results are expected to be shared at the August 8 council meeting.

CAO/Clerk Amanda Gubbels said the township is targeting construction for this year but the timelines will depend on the successful contractor and their availability.