Province announces new winter safety measures

Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting already adhering to new maintenance standards

The province announced a number of new measures aimed at highway maintenance standards and safety with measures that target individual drivers and commercial vehicles.

Those measures include stricter vehicle chain-up requirements and higher financial penalties, investing $1.8 million over three years for additional weather monitoring and extending winter tire and chain regulations on select highways from Oct. 1 to April 30, as opposed to March 31st.

The province also rolled out new highway maintenance standards in all 28 service areas of the BC, however, the East Kootenay service area is already under the new requirements.

Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting, which signed a new seven-year contract with the provincial government in April 2016, is already mandated to follow the new standards set out by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

The East Kootenay service area was the first to sign a contract with the new standards, and will be followed by Service Area 20, including Robson and McBride, in 2021.

However, the other 26 service areas are up for contract renewal this year, as the new requirements included initiatives such as a return to bare pavement on highways within 24 hours of snowfall with temperatures warmer than -9 degrees celsius; an increase in patrol frequency, using anti-icing chemicals prior to a weather event; and a 9.5 millimetre abrasive to reduce windshield damage.

Mainroad is responsible for 3,673 lane kilometres in the East Kootenay region, which includes 106 bridges, 45 retaining walls, 4,100 culverts, four tunnels, 11,000 signs and 11 rest areas.

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