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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Falcons swoop in on Hope hoops tourney championship

The Lake City Falcons senior boys basketball team is soaring high after… Continue reading

Services set to return to normal at Cariboo Memorial Hospital after cold weather wreaks havoc

Interior Health said efforts to get water back on at CMH have been successful

Midget Female Timberwolves close out regular season with win, tie

The T-wolves final position in the standings now depends on its opponents results

FOREST INK: Developing a local market for biochar

A good place to start is an article in the 2016 BC Organic Grower Journal by Marjorie Harris

Williams Lake and Cariboo emerge from week-long deep freeze

It feels like short and T-shirt weather as the Cariboo-Chilcotin has emerged from its deep freeze

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in lingerie store

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

Most Read