Sudbury·Morning North

Sudbury city council may not back Maley Drive Extension

Newly elected councillors say they want to hear the business case"\ for the $80 million bypass, before committing the city's one-third share of the dollars.
Greater Sudbury roads director David Shelsted stands on Municipal Road 80, right where the proposed $80 million Maley Drive Extension would intersect it. (Erik White/CBC)

​Sudbury city councillors want to hear a business case for Maley Drive before agreeing to go ahead with the $80 million road.

The last city council made it its top priority five years ago.

The province was harder to convince, finally agreeing to fund its third-- about $27 million-- during the general provincial election last June.

The city is still waiting to hear from the federal government if it will come through with its share.

But the newly elected city council has not yet made Maley Drive its top priority.

Many councillors, like Mike Jakubo, want to hear staff's pitch before voting for it.

"It certainly is a big priority of city staff, but what we haven't seen is why it is such a priority of city staff," said the Ward 7 councillor.

Deb McIntosh, the councillor for Ward 9, also wants to understand why her predecessors believed extending Maley was the city's top priority.

"I'm not entirely certain why they made it their priority. I guess it was a project that's been on the books for so long."

She said she wants the public to be consulted before council spends that kind of money.

It's unclear what would happen if the city backs out, but if the Maley Extension returns to the back burner, the millions in provincial funding would likely go with it.

The idea of extending Maley Drive to ease traffic on Lasalle Boulevard goes back to the early 1980s.

Long-time municipal public works manager Greg Clausen says with a big pricetag, Maley Drive always had to wait until next year.

"It kept going on the back burner, saying well, when the pot of gold comes out of the rainbow and all the stars align, we'll do it, because that's what should be done, but it's just a matter of getting there," said Clausen.

Sudbury roads director David Shelsted says there are many reasons why the city needs to extend Maley Drive.

He says a new route connecting Barrydowne Road to Municipal Road 35 will ease traffic congestion on Lasalle Boulevard, the Kingsway and Municipal Road 15 in the valley, allowing commuters and mining trucks to get where they're going faster.