Regional winter road maintenance operations underway

Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting shifting into winter as snow season fast approaches

Winter road maintenance operations have been underway for the last two weeks as Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting gears up for another winter season in the region.

With a territory that stretches from Yahk, to Radium Hot Springs and the Alberta and U.S. borders, Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting is responsible for maintaining the roads in all seasons.

Now that winter has arrived, the company is reminding drivers to be aware of road and weather conditions as well as to drive safely when in close proximity to winter maintenance vehicles.

“The biggest thing for us is public safety,” said Andries De Witt, the general manager for Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting. “and then obviously the safety of our own employees on the roads and respecting the plows out there.”

De Witt notes that plows will be travelling at speeds between 30-60 kilometres an hour when operating on the roads and that drivers should have a buffer zone of 10 car lengths .

“They trucks will move over when safe to do so,” he said.

The company has five yards in the region, with a main base in Cranbrook and satellite yards in Yahk, Fairmont, Elko and Sparwood, utilizing a fleet of 20 tandem axles, six single-axle and six tri-axle trucks and plows.

Mainroad is constantly gathering aggregate weather data from various sources as well as subscribing to a forecasting service that specifically examines road conditions, along with atmospheric forecasting.

When a weather event is coming up, managers meet to take stock of equipment and materials needed for the affected area. The type of weather event and the amount of forecasted moisture, whether in the form of rain, sleet or snow, will determine what materials are used, according to Richard Douglas, Mainroad’s operations manager.

Sometimes, crews to go out ahead of a weather event and pre-treat the roads, depending on the anticipated conditions, he added.

“We’re basically keeping the roads open during a snow event,” Douglas said. “The expectation for perfect road conditions, as the snow is falling, is a little bit unbalanced with reality.”

Once the weather event is over, then its time to get surfaces back to normal, he added.

“Now we’re talking about widening shoulders, we’re talking about a post-event treatment of the roads, clean up, if there’s any remaining compact snow or slush that the plow blades can’t actually remove, then we would do another chemical treatment,” Douglas said.

“Are there any additional slippery sections that are left that need additional sand or other materials? That sort of stuff.”

Once all that is complete, then mangers then meet for a post-event rundown and address any operational issues that arose in order to prepare for next time.

Public outreach and communication has been a key priority for the company, according to spokesperson Nikki Taylor.

The company completed a survey in 2018 ahead of the winter season to gather public feedback and responses to winter operations. Since then, the company beefed up outreach with a larger social media presence (Facebook & Twitter), posting weather advisories and bulletins as well as real-time operational content of crews in action.

A 24-hour phone line (1-800-665-4929) has also been set up for area residents to call and bring forward any concerns, while the website has an FAQ page and other content.

Mainroad is responsible for regional highways maintenance and rural roads not included in municipal boundaries. The company services 3,673 lane kilometres, including 106 bridges and four tunnels.



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Housing development proposed for property alongside Innes Ave

Full development plan totals 292 dwelling units with four apartment buildings, 10 four-plexes

Cranbrook SAR tasked out twice over the last week

No injuries reported in separate motor vehicle incidents on Hwy 3/95 near Moyie

RDEK board leadership acclaimed for another term

Rob Gay and Clara Reinhardt to serve as chair, vice-chair for another yearly term

Local skicross racers hit the World Cup circuit

Olympian India Sherret is joined by fellow local racers Zoe Chore and Courtney Hoffos

Cranbrook Mass Christmas Choir raised $1,063 for Salvation Army

Cranbrook’s annual Mass Christmas Choir Concert, held Wednesday, December 4, at the… Continue reading

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

UFV & other B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

B.C. VIEWS: An engine that hums right along

First Nations are leading a new surge of investment in B.C.

Brain injury from domestic abuse a ‘public health crisis,’ says B.C. researcher

Nearly 80% of the domestic violence victims who reported to police last year were women

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Miller nets winner as Canucks edge Sabres 6-5 in OT

Roussel, Leivo tally two apiece for Vancouver

Most Read