By Andru McCracken

The Ministry of Transportation responded to a story in the Goat last week detailing how new standards would indeed make the highway safer despite the concerns raised by a former highways maintenance supervisor.

A concern was raised that removing compact snow in 24 hours could lead to too much slush, but the ministry said the contractor is expected to deal with slush quickly.

The response times for removing slush and broken compact for Class A highways are within 90 minutes, and within 2 hours for Class B highways. Both major highways through the Robson Valley, 5 and 16, are classified as Class A.

Another concern was that salting the road when the temperature is -9 degrees C or higher could lead to gray ice. The ministry said this standard refers to surface temperature, not air temperature.

“They must also increase the frequency of monitoring and evaluating information including, but not limited to RWIS, forecasts and other methodologies/technologies, when a weather event is anticipated to occur.”

Increase use of brine
The use of road salts and liquids is an effective tool contractors use to keep the roads safe for motorists, the Ministry said. The contractor is required to meet all legislative requirements for the safe handling and use of salt products, and to mitigate any potential environmental impacts.

As for putting more boots on the ground to ensure the contractor does their work, the ministry said they use an assessment to ensure the contractor is meeting their obligations.

“As part of our quality plan, more than 10,000 monitoring records and more 800 local audits are conducted during the winter to assess contractors performance.”