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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

CWATS completes County Road 23 overlay

-New overlay on County Road 23 completes the CWATS project that began in 2017-

by Adam Gault

The County of Essex has recently completed a new three-kilometre stretch of paved overlay as part of its ongoing County Wide Active Transportation System (CWATS) initiative, which seeks to link Windsor-Essex with more than 800 kilometres of interconnected bike lanes and pathways over the course of the next decade-and-a-half.

  The work done on County Road 23 (Naylor Side Road), included the completion of paved overlay for the road and shoulders, north from County Road 8 to South Middle Road. This completed the initial work that began on that stretch of road in 2017.

  “We started building the [CWATS] infrastructure back in 2012, and since then, we’ve put in 400 kilometres of the proposed 800-kilometre network,” Katherine Wilson explained, who is the Active Transportation Coordinator at the County of Essex. “We work with the seven municipalities in partnership with the County, and we prioritize different projects, based on factors, such as how they align with other capital works projects and the priorities of the towns.”

  While COVID-19 has had little impact on the maintenance and construction schedule for CWATS in 2020, it has increased the number of users of the CWATS system, with many across the region taking up cycling as a new hobby by those looking to remain active during the ongoing pandemic.

  “It’s health benefits, it’s environmental benefits,” Wilson said of the benefits. “I think a lot of people are looking for ways to be outdoors and active, and [cycling] is an activity that can promote social distancing.”

  During the 2020 construction season, paved shoulders have also been completed on County Road 50, along Lake Erie. In addition, construction on the third phase of CWATS’s multi-use pathway and paved shoulders on County Road 2 in Lakeshore is scheduled to begin at the end of July.

  Full details of upcoming CWATS projects and maps can be found at

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