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.

BC legislature

Just Posted

Greater Victoria tourism industry ‘can’t wait any longer’ for financial aid

Saanich mayor, business owners call on provincial, federal governments for tourism-specific aid

OPINION: Universal basic income is a good thing

‘I’ve always loved change, so I’m rooting for a different way of life altogether’

Search and rescue crews help locate 62-year-old Nanoose Bay mountain biker

RCMP: Man got lost on trail and did right thing by calling for assistance

Colwood drive-thru window smashed after suspect receives burger without mustard

Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

39 caught speeding through Cowichan school zones

On June 1, North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP conducted speed enforcement in several school zones

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

Gold River ready to welcome visitors and restart local businesses

In contrast to single-industry remote communities, Gold River’s diversified economy might help it better survive after reopening

National drive-by art show rolls in Victoria on Saturday

Map shows drivers where local artists have set up displays in windows, balconies, driveways

Victoria police make arrest in connection to string of James Bay fires

50-year-old man faces recommended arson charges for May 14 fires

Victoria police searching for suspect after baseball bat assault

Man assaulted in the 900-block of Pandora Avenue

Bird contacting wires causes massive Port Hardy power outage

The power outage started at 1:18 p.m. and lasted until 3:00 p.m.

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Most Read