EMBRUN – “I’m more than willing to support anything that helps existing residents in new build areas like that, and that makes it safer for kids to walk the streets and not have to worry about construction traffic,” township of Russell Coun. Jamie Laurin said.

The issue of construction traffic was raised by Mayor Pierre Leroux during the “business presented by council” section of the March 7 council meeting agenda. He said he had received multiple requests from residents in the Richelieu Heritage area about construction traffic to one of the township’s newer subdivision projects.

“They’ve been seeing a lot of construction traffic lately,” he said, adding that one resident requested that trucks rotate between the streets being used during the construction phase, so that one street isn’t seeing all the traffic all the time.

While the mayor said he wasn’t sure if this was possible or how it might be implemented, he had told the resident he would raise the issue with council. He said he thought she had a good point, considering construction traffic could last several years.

“Well, I know that over the last year and a half, I’ve been beating that same drum in Russell Trails,” Laurin said. “I’ve been getting emails from a lot of residents there.”

Laurin said that when he inquired about potential solutions, he was told that enforcement would be an issue in terms of regulating which roads that construction vehicles ultimately use. Also, he reminded council that the township doesn’t own unfinished subdivision roads. He said the only thing that’s been done so far is the erection of signs that say no construction traffic.

“I don’t know how we would do something different in another subdivision. I would encourage it. Absolutely,” Laurin said. “But we have to be consistent across all new developments, if that’s the case, and not be looking to fix one problem in one place and not be willing to fix it in another.”

Leroux said the street he’s talking about is municipally owned, as it’s an older subdivision that is being expanded. He also said there were only two access points to the construction site in question and both are through existing subdivision areas. Coun. André Brisson said the drivers may not have a choice about which road to use depending on the location.

“I know it’s an inconvenience for the people because they were used to it as a dead end, so they had no traffic,” Brisson said. “But personally, I think just in a few years it will be finished and then it will not be as bad. And it’s worse now because they are doing the most construction for the road, so I think there’s not much the municipality can do there since it’s the only way to go in.”

Laurin suggested staff investigate potential solutions for the construction traffic complaints. He suggested that either executive director of infrastructure services Jonathan Bourgon return to council with potential solutions at the next council meeting or, if council agrees, that he go ahead and “handle it” when a solution has been identified.

Bourgon said he would investigate the options, but he also offered some insight to what residents were currently experiencing. He said construction materials had recently been received and the street drivers have been using is the closest and easiest access to the construction site.

In the end, council directed Bourgon and director of public safety and enforcement Millie Bourdeau to discuss potential solutions. Staff is expected to report back to Russell’s politicians at the next council meeting on March 21.