Regional directors looking for sideroad improvements told not to get their hopes up - InfoNews

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Regional directors looking for sideroad improvements told not to get their hopes up

There's a big difference in how the province looks after secondary roads versus numbered highways, Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen directors heard at today's board meeting, Jan. 17, 2019.
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January 17, 2019 - 1:53 PM

PENTICTON - Regional district directors have no end of highway and road projects they would like the province to consider.

That was readily apparent to a delegation of officials from the province’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure who met with the board to talk about highway projects for 2019 at today’s, Jan. 17, Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen’s regular board meeting.

In response to several directors’ requests for a review of sideroads needing repaving in the region, the ministry's Penticton operations manager Jeff Wiseman suggested independent conversations between the ministry and the various directors would save the board time.

Wiseman said numbered route highways were well monitored for their condition and paving schedules, noting today's discussion appeared to be centred on sideroad conditions.

“That’s where it falls to us, at our district level, to maintain those roads. We get very little money when it comes to money for sideroad paving,” Wiseman told the directors.

Wiseman noted only one sideroad in the region had been scheduled for repaving in last year’s budget, adding contractors responsible for maintaining a smooth, safe surface generally only had the resources to provide patches.

“I look after from the U.S. border up to Lake Country. I’ve got thousands of roads, so I don’t want to get expectations up that if a director provides me with a list of their top 20 roads. That would keep me going for another 50 or 75 years,” Wiseman said.

“We know our side roads are in tough shape. Our highways quite often get no older than 20 years old, quite often some will be done in 10 or 15 years. We have side roads, numerous ones, pick a location. They’re 50-plus years old, maybe even 60 and they’re not hot mix, they’re a cold mix, they’re a sealcoat, they’re cracked, they’re tired, they’re old,” he said, adding he’d like to pave them all.

Wiseman says the ministry has had some success "buddying up" with nearby highway projects, being able to take advantage of the asphalt plant setup to do a sideroad or two, citing as examples some recent repaving on Lakehill Road in Kaleden and White Lake Road, which were repaved recently during a nearby highway repaving project.

“I can think, off the top of my head, hundreds of side roads in any one of these communities that need resurfacing, so generally, when a sideroad needs resurfacing, we already know about it. It would be amazing for me not to know one of our sideroads is falling apart, because most of them are,” Wiseman said.

He said regional directors who really felt a particular sideroad needed prioritization should contact him.

“I’ll give you a realistic answer, like yes, that can be done, or it won’t be likely done for several years. That might be the best way to do it,” Wiseman said.


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