Bryan Deroos was stunned to learn his will be the first residential street in Sarnia to be paved in years.
“Pinch me,” said Deroos, standing beside Echo Road, which, like many city streets is a patchwork of cracks and patched potholes.
“Let’s just say I have my Jeep, and there are times that I find I’m off-roading,” he said.
Echo Road runs north of Michigan Avenue, behind Northern Collegiate. It magically appeared on a list of road paving projects council awarded this month to Sevcon Paving.
Sarnia has for years devoted its limited road repair budget to large and heavily used traffic arteries to limit vehicle accidents and liability.
Though a handful of residential, or local, streets have received new asphalt during sewer separation projects, Echo is the first residential street in at least six years to be including in the regular resurfacing schedule.
“Up until this year we weren’t doing local roads,” confirmed Sarnia’s construction manager Robert Williams.
“But since council discussed it, they are going to have a percentage dedicated to residential streets. We hope to bring more local roads back in the future.”
In 2015, Echo Road residents presented a petition to council stating their street was a “disgrace” and hadn’t been resurfaced in at least 30 years.
Deroos said the street’s condition has been a hot topic among neighbours since he moved there in 2001. And the asphalt has deteriorated each year since, he said.
He believes all the bumps and patches were responsible for the demise of his previous car — the suspension wore out beyond repair.
“That’s something the city and most people don’t take into consideration, all the wear and tear it does on vehicles,” he said.
Sarnia has more than 150 kilometres of streets that have reached the end of their useful life, according to city staff.
The difference between what’s needed and what’s spent on roads — known as the infrastructure deficit — has ballooned under successive city councils to $27.6 million.
This year’s road resurfacing budget is $2.25-million, about double previous years. The other approved roads are:
* Telfer Road (Lakeshore Road to 100 Metres South of Blackwell Road);
* Waterworks Road (from city boundary to Churchill);
* Waterworks Road (from Churchill to Confederation Line);
* Waterworks Road (from Confederation Line to London Line); and
* Michigan Line (from Mandaumin Road to Waterworks Road).