City Juggles Options To Fix Decaying Roads

This is a release from the City of Ottawa:

Subject / Objet Level of Investment in local road resurfacing Date: June 28, 2024 

The purpose of this memorandum is to provide a response to members of Council on Motion  No. 2023-28-13 with respect to increasing the investment in local road resurfacing, and to  provide a summary of investigated options to increase the level of investment for the  resurfacing of local roads, as part of the 2025 annual budget. 


The City of Ottawa maintains more than $10 billion of road infrastructure. The City has an  inventory of 6,043 kilometers of roads; the paved road network is made up of 1,500  kilometers of arterial roads, 1,500 kilometers of collectors and 2,500 kilometers of local roads.  Local roads represent about 40% of the length of the total road network. In 2024, Council invested more than $900 million in the renewal of city infrastructure. 

In 2024, the City will invest $131 million in roads, with $76.5 million dedicated to road  resurfacing. Over the past three years $99 million in additional funding has been allocated for  roads. 

Infrastructure renewal candidate projects undergo an annual review. Projects recommended  for renewal are prioritized based on a risk-based assessment of priority needs and available  funding. This risk-based assessment prioritizes critical infrastructure such as arterial roads. This approach maintains the City’s infrastructure in a state of good repair and follows Council’s direction

The risk-based assessment takes into consideration factors such as existing condition, risk to  service, traffic volumes, transit routes, costs and affordability, coordination with other nearby  projects, and public and operational concerns. This results in the variable investment funding  to local roads, as the risk-based assessment will score arterial roads renewal needs over  local roads renewal needs based on the traffic volume and transit routes. Under road  resurfacing, $6 million (8%) is allocated to local road upgrades and guiderails, which allows  for renewal of 8 km of local roads. In 2022, $4.4 million (6%) and in 2023, $5.5 million (7.4%)  was allocated to local road upgrades and guiderails. 

The 2022 Transportation Asset Management Plan (AMP), details the current state of the  assets, current Levels of service and the forecasted costs, with no changes to service level,  for the next 10 years. It also indicates the current replacement value, planned spending for  transportation assets and the overall average condition rating of good to fair. The  Transportation AMP shows needs exceed planned revenue in the next 10 years.

Investment Options 

The options for Council consideration through the 2025 Budget include: Maintain the total investment in road renewal and reallocate across the road classes. The road renewal prioritization process considers factors listed above to recommend  the annual renewal program based on data for each candidate road. The outcome of  the resurfacing program reflects the higher needs roads across the entire road  network, not based on road type. Council could direct an amount or percentage of  investment to local roads, outside the prioritization process. For example:  o 2025 focus could be dedicated to local roads to increase the investment. A 1%  increase in funding to local roads would redirect $765,000 and would permit about 1km of local road to be resurfaced. 

  • Increasing the total investment in road renewal by reallocating funds from other tax supported programs and direct the increase to local road improvement. o However, this will diminish funding from other tax supported projects that are considered higher priority. 

Next Steps 

Amendments to all Asset Management Plans, due by July 1, 2025, will introduce proposed  service levels, potential changes to operating and asset renewal strategies, financial and  non-financial strategies to address the forecasted growth, enhancement and renewal needs  identified for all assets. The update will provide an explanation of how risks will be managed  for activities that will not be undertaken, in the event needs exceed forecasted funding. 

The 2025 AMPs will provide a full perspective of the City’s assets, their service level and  important financial information for the City’s long-range financial plan (LRFP) to support  Council in their decision making. Staff recommend that any decisions related to changing the  allocation to local roads be deferred until after the AMP and LRFP are finalized. These  documents will provide Council with up to date information and financial due diligence to  inform their decision making process. 

The City remains committed to working collaboratively with all stakeholders to ensure priorities are addressed within the allocated budgets. Staff will continue to monitor other  opportunities for investment in roads, such as, the most recent announcement from the  Province, to provide additional funding for various transportation priorities to advance  economic growth and connectivity. Please feel welcome to contact Sue Johns, Director, Asset  Management Services at with any questions. 


Tammy Rose 

General Manager 

Infrastructure and Water Services


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2 Responses

  1. Been There says:

    It is no wonder our roads are in terrible shape, Asset management plans seem to be about 12 to 16 months behind reality.

  2. The Voter says:

    So there are 2,500 km of local roads in the city and they repair 8 km per year. Oh, good! That means they’ll get to your street sometime in the next 312 years. Don’t wait up for them!

    And that’s not taking into account all the new local roads they’ll be building in that time that might well bump yours down the list if, for example, they can get a bus route when you don’t have one. You’ll just have to keep driving on that road while others can take the bus and save the wear and tear on their vehicle while at the same time getting their road repaired before you.

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