B.C. ministry answers winter-related road questions from drivers | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. ministry answers winter-related road questions from drivers

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has responded to questions from the public.
Image Credit: The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
January 18, 2020 - 3:30 PM

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is answering B.C. drivers’ most pressing questions about winter-related road maintenance.

Highway maintenance during this storm was not enough. Where were your contractors?

“B.C. highways have different winter maintenance classifications depending on their traffic volumes and location. Busier and more geographically challenging routes (such as the Coquihalla) have a shorter allowable time frame for plowing cycles; while less busy highways and side roads have a longer allowable time frame,” the ministry said in a statement issued on its website.

Highway maintenance was better before privatization in 1988

“We’re the first to admit that a lot of things have changed since the 'old days' – some things for the better (mullets anyone?!) One thing that has improved are the tools we use to battle winter weather on B.C. highways," the statement said. 

Your contractors are skimping on salt/sand!

“Maintenance contractor crews apply salt, salt brines, anti-icing agents and abrasives or combinations to address conditions based on current and anticipated weather conditions throughout the day. They watch weather forecasts closely and use their local knowledge of specific areas to determine when, how much and where they apply them.

“During their patrols, they also monitor and respond to slippery conditions as required. It is not to their benefit in any way to skimp on materials. The liabilities for failing to perform their work to the contractual standards exceed any gain from shorting materials,” the statement said.

What are you doing to make sure maintenance contractors are meeting their contractual obligations?

“Ministry staff regularly audit and monitor contractor performance in addition to communicating with them on a daily basis. We have a comprehensive quality plan to assess the performance of our contractors," the statement said.

"It involves monitoring hundreds of records and audits, to determine whether contractors are meeting the maintenance specifications. The maintenance contract includes tools to address 'non-conformance,' through escalating intervention measures based on the seriousness of the “non-conformance”. Some of the tools include 'non-conformance' reports and notices to comply.”

To view the full list, visit the Ministry of Transportation's website.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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