Industries in the Cariboo-Chilcotin depend on a strong transportation infrastructure.
According to B.C. on the Move, the provincial government’s new 10-year plan to improve the province’s transportation network, there are about 23,000 trucking companies in B.C.
That translates into 40,000 trucks employing around 33,500 people.
In the report the government outlines a number of planned road improvements for the decade to come.
They range from upgrading and replacing structures such as bridges and overpasses, so they can accommodate the increasingly heavy and large loads that industry needs to transport goods, to working with industry to expand the number of provincial highway corridors pre-approved for the transport of 85- to 125-metric-tonne loads.
The report also notes that streamlining permits and reducing the number of truck permits required while ensuring commercial vehicle safety is a top priority.
The plan was developed by government with input gathered during an engagement process in fall 2014 and included a public survey that drew over 12,500 responses from throughout B.C.
The report noted at a stakeholder meeting held in November in Williams Lake, participants all agreed that industry and tourism are incredibly important for this region and supported additional investments into the region’s transportation network to support economic development.
Participants requested support for intersection improvements at Highway 97 and frontage in Williams Lake and asked that highway pullouts for trucks and more rest rooms with year-round access be provided.
They stressed the need to reduce speed limits at critical locations and that improvements to the quality of paint used for highway line painting be improved because lines need to be repainted frequently.
Earlier in March the federal Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt endorsed the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) in commercial vehicles and electronic stability control (ESC) in new trucks as positive steps for the trucking industry that can improve safety for all road users. ELDs in particular can ensure driving time is accurately recorded, removing the temptation for some individuals or companies to work outside the rules and increase their crash risk.