A pickup truck passes a snowplow on the right as two plows work in tandem on a B.C. highway. Drivers are advised to avoid this dangerous move and wait until plows find a safe place to pull over. (Ministry of Transportation)

B.C. raising highway maintenance standards for winter driving

Major routes to be ‘bare pavement’ 24 hours after snowfall

The B.C. government is renewing most of its 28 regional highway maintenance contracts this year, increasing plowing and patrolling standards for winter storms.

The transportation ministry’s new contracts call for Class A highways to be returned to “bare pavement” condition within 24 hours of a winter storm, when the temperature is -9 C or warmer. The previous standard for those conditions is 48 hours.

The new contracts, for 10 years with an option for a five-year extension, also call for more frequent patrols of each service area and communication with the public about fast-changing road conditions during severe weather. For Class A highways, patrols are to be done every 90 minutes during storms, from the previous standard of four hours.

When storms are forecast, patrols are to be done every four hours, rather than every 24 hours.

The ministry feeds highway condition information into its DriveBC website and has begun installing variable speed limit signs on major routes like the Coquihalla Highway that are subject to severe winter storms.

RELATED: New Okanagan contractor cleaning up winter heavy sand load

RELATED: Highway rest stop washrooms in bad shape, toilet paper out

There are 28 maintenance contract regions around the province, and most contracts to be awarded with the new standards by the end of 2019. One of the most remote regions, Stikine northwest to Dease Lake and Atlin, has been awarded to the existing contractor, Lakes District Maintenance Inc., with the new contract effective Aug. 1.

The contract for Chetwynd, Dawson Creek and Tumbler Ridge in northeastern B.C. has been awarded to Argo Road Maintenance, which is also responsible for maintaining provincial highways in the Thompson region.

B.C. spends about $400 million per year to private contractors for highway maintenance, covering 47,000 km of highway and 2,800 bridges. Their crews apply 750,000 tonnes of winter abrasives and 100,000 tonnes of salt each year.

The ministry has an online satisfaction survey where B.C. residents can select their home region and rate performance of summer and winter maintenance, line markings, traffic management in construction zones, inland ferries, commercial vehicle enforcement and DriveBC information.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Suds lovers have new choice: Lucky Lager or Lucky lather

Metchosin Soap Works puts out olive oil soap infused with the brew synonymous with Vancouver Island

New Sonic the Hedgehog trailer shows off Ladysmith and new character animation

Vancouver Island-filmed movie will hit theatres on Feb. 14

Climate change protest takes place in Victoria during rush hour

Extinction Rebellion group targets local media with protest on Douglas Street

No danger to Quadra Island residents, says representative for barge parent company

Compressed CO2, corrosion inhibitor among cargo of grounded barge on Quadra Island

Thousands of cigarette butts collected and recycled from downtown Victoria

Canisters placed throughout the downtown core have made an impact on local litter

Man and dog safe as crews handle house fire in Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter

Firefighters were called to 400 block of Machleary Street at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday

Jagmeet Singh says he’ll vote against throne speech if NDP requests not met

Singh is to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday

Community uses loophole to paint 16 rainbow crosswalks after B.C. council says no

So far 11 rainbows are painted and five planned, all since council denied the first proposal in September

Workers’ camp at LNG facility in Kitimat takes shape

Extensive worker camp now being assembled

238 and counting: Vancouver gelato shop sets Guinness World record for most flavours

Vince Misceo has come up with 588 different flavours over the decades

Killer who fled to Taiwan day after shooting B.C. man over $80 sentenced 13 years later

The sentence comes 13 years after Shaoxin Zhang, 19, was killed in a Burnaby parking lot

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP seek witnesses in fatal crash

Deceased a man in his mid-20s, identity will not be released

UVic conference explores healthy ways to express masculinity

ReImagining Masculinity conference Nov. 16 hopes to cultivate healthy, non-violent conversations

Grade 12 students ‘will not lose their graduation year:’ SD63 superintendent

Parents, students concerned about educational impact of CUPE 441 strike

Most Read