Last Wednesday I was driving south on Blackman Road between Tete Jaune and the intersection with Highway 5. I had to stop at the CN crossing to let a very long train go by. There were three or four vehicles behind me. When the train passed I proceeded south and found myself behind a Ledcor work truck with yellow lights flashing on the roof.
The truck was going about 60 to 65 kms per hour. The stretch ahead was clear of traffic so I turned on my signal to pass and pulled out. Just as I found myself in the left lane the work truck swerved into it to prevent me from passing. I pulled back in confusion, wondering why I couldn’t pass. There were no construction signs or speed limit signs, there was no oncoming traffic, there was nothing to indicate any danger on the straight stretch ahead. So again I put on my turn signal and pulled out again. And again the work truck swerved into the left lane to prevent me from passing.
I put on my brakes and my emergency signal and stopped in the middle of the road. The driver of the work truck also stopped there and the passenger got out and started yelling at me, “What are you doing trying to pass a work truck with the lights flashing?”
As I feebly explained the lack of danger ahead, the lack of construction, the cars behind me passed by. The passenger of the work truck continued to defend the driver’s actions in a very aggressive tone. At that point I got back into my vehicle and drove on towards the intersection with Highway 5. I was really upset.
As I approached the pull out on the right side of Highway 5 I noticed another white Ledcor truck. I needed to talk to someone, so I pulled over and stopped beside him. I explained to the driver what had just happened. As I was finishing giving the description, the work truck with the flashing lights pulled in. I said, “That’s the truck, those are the guys!” He said, “Fine, just go now, I will deal with this.” As I got back into my vehicle I said to the two guys, “I am reporting this to the RCMP.”
And I did. I went directly to the Valemount RCMP Detachment and gave a statement. As it turned out, the man I talked to in the pull out was their supervisor. He also followed up with a visit to the detachment to say the guys in the work truck were definitely in the wrong. RCMP staff called me back to let me know.
I have lived here for more than 40 years and the changes due to the construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline along that stretch of Highway 5 are unprecedented. I am grateful for the option of Blackman Road. Last Wednesday I was faced with a careless human-caused danger there. Fortunately a serious collision was avoided.
I have years of experience as a trauma therapist. I recognize the trauma response in my body from being harassed by another driver and yelled at by a guy much younger than my adult children, even now as I write this. I am thankful for the reassurance I got from the RCMP and the Ledcor supervisor. I understand there is zero tolerance for misbehavior by Trans Mountain workers in the community and I am glad I reported the incident. I encourage others in the community to do the same if they experience transgressions that make them feel unsafe. I believe living in our amazing mountain community is a privilege for the Trans Mountain workers, with that comes the responsibility to ensure safety and respect for all the local residents.