A 2022 inspected of Six Nations bridges and culverts showed there are no urgent fixes needed but 12 of the structures will need to be repaired within the next five years, costing about $5 million.
There are an additional 35 structures on Six Nations in need of work or coming to that point, said Curtis Stewart, of Macintosh Perry Consulting.
According to provincial guidelines, all structures greater than three feet have to be inspected every two years, he said, and Six Nations has been following that recommendation.
During the inspection, every bridge gets a rating of excellent, good or fair.
Over time, all structures will slowly deteriorate and the rating system helps determine when to repair them without having to spend more money or sooner than required.
Six Nations has 19 bridges and 21 culverts.
The majority of those structures were built in the 60s.
Twenty per cent of Six Nations structures are in excellent condition. The rest are in fair condition and the critical ones have been repaired, Stewart told Six Nations Elected Council at last week’s political liaison meeting.
The most recent inspection in 2022 showed that 12 structures need to be repaired within at least a five-year timespan at a cost of about $5 million.
Four structures need to be repaired in 10 years’ time.
Two bridges on Six Nations were identified as being high priority for repair right away and two other bridge repairs are planned for 2023.
“There’s still plenty of work to go through but the most critical ones have been addressed,” Stewart said.
The 12 structures aren’t a critical risk just yet and any new design standards are addressed when they’re being fixed, he said. Bridges usually last about 75 years before their lifespan is over.
Council heard that large trucks barreling through the territory are damaging bridges and roads at a faster pace.
“Our roads need attention so badly,” said Coun. Hazel Johnson.
Coun. Helen Miller agreed.
“I don’t know if we’ve ever done a traffic count before. Sixth line is getting really bad. Our roads and our bridges weren’t built for this kind of traffic, it was built for us; our little community to go back and forth. That is having an impact in our community on most of our roads. Sixth line is getting really bad for traffic. I really think there’s a major concern for all of the roads. Most of our roads are chip and tar. They weren’t made for this.”
Public Works Director Michael Montour said about eight to 10,000 vehicles a day travel down Chiefswood Road, one of the main roads bisecting the middle of the reserve.
He warned there will be upcoming repairs.
“You’re going to see a lot of work (on road resurfacing),” said Montour.
Coun. Miller was concerned though that Six Nations doesn’t get enough infrastructure funding to maintain the roads and bridges.
Infrastructure funding is based on how many gas stations serve a geographic area.
She said, “We’re in the same category as Caledonia or Hagersville. We’re getting really ripped off with this federal gas tax. We’re not a city but we certainly have the gas stations to support being a small city and get more money to fix our roads because that’s what they use to fix all their roads (the infrastructure fund). We contribute billions of federal taxes to the government with all our gas stations.”