Did you know that B.C.’s maintenance contractors maintain more than 47,500 kilometres of road and 2,800 structures, and employ about 2,000 people who provide services 24 hours a day, seven days a week? That is just one tidbit of information from the roundup of transportation related news releases which happened this week. Read on for more about this and other interesting pieces of information you might have missed, in this edition of Bridging the Week.
Extension of BC Highway Maintenance Contracts
Provincial highway maintenance is one of B.C.’s most important services. The government of B.C., BC Road Builders & Heavy Construction Association (BCRB) and the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union have reached agreements to ensure high-quality highway maintenance services through to 2018-19. These agreements ensure the ongoing safe operation of the provincial highway network and help provide price certainty through to 2018-19. Travellers can rely on service levels that meet or exceed best practices throughout North America.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has reached agreements with the BCRB to extend 27 of the 28 existing provincial service area highway maintenance agreements for an additional five years, through to 2018-19. These agreements cover more than 2,000 workers throughout B.C. and help provide certainty for the next seven years. One service area chose not to participate in the extension process.
“With these contract extensions in place, our contractors can continue to invest in the equipment and resources necessary to keep our provincial highways and bridges maintained to safely move people and goods across the province.” – BC Road Builders & Heavy Construction Association president Jack Davidson
The ministry will continue to closely monitor the performance of all its road and bridge contractors and guarantee they are meeting or exceeding the service level requirements.
TransLink audit complete; focus shifts to affordability, next steps
Government needs a clear sense of the regional vision and priorities over the coming decades, what kind of transportation system will be needed in the future and how much residents are prepared to pay for it, which is why the British Columbia government recently completed its first performance audit of Translink and found potential for significant savings.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure sent a letter to the chair of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation, asking it to work closely with TransLink on a long-term transportation vision for Metro Vancouver. The long-term vision should actively engage the public on TransLink’s new 30-year Regional Transportation Strategy. The strategy is due August 2013 and is required by legislation. On Oct. 12, 2012, the Metro Vancouver Board passed a resolution to contribute to the development of TransLink’s 30-year Regional Transportation Strategy, bringing their expertise in land-use planning to the table.
The TransLink audit is available on the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure website: http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/publications/reports_and_studies/Review_of_TransLink.pdf
SMOOTH RIDE IN STORE FOR HIGHWAY 6
Work is underway on an upgrade to approximately 2.2 kilometres of Highway 6 between Grey and Ricardo Roads. The improvements will include realigning the highway to straighten existing curves, providing wider shoulders, a new railway crossing, and improvements at the Grey, Kalamalka and Ricardo Road intersections. The project is set to be completed by the end of September 2013.
COMBO PROJECT ANNOUNCED IN SURREY AND LANGLEY
Construction of the Combo Project, will help ease congestion in Surrey and Langley and is an important investment along the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor (RBRC) as it will boost Asia-Pacific Gateway’s competitive advantage. The project involves the construction of rail crossing overpasses at 192nd Street, 54th Avenue and 196th Street in Surrey, B.C., which will increase road capacity while addressing the needs expressed by these communities to reduce delays and mitigate the impacts of increasing commercial traffic. These new road-rail grade separations will enhance rail operations and accommodate anticipated growth in rail and road traffic along the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor.
The Combo Project groups three of the nine project components in the $307-million RBRC program, with a federal contribution of up to $75 million. The program is comprised of multiple partners including the Government of Canada, the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the City of Surrey, the City of Langley, the Township of Langley, the Corporation of Delta, Port Metro Vancouver, Translink and four railway companies (BNSF, B.C. Rail, CN Rail and CP Rail) working together to support projects that connect Roberts Bank, Canada’s largest container facility and coal terminal, with the North American rail network.
The Combo Project will improve access for drivers in Surrey, the City of Langley and the Township of Langley and help the RBRC carry the increasing volumes of goods from around the world that we use here every day, as well as Canadian exports.
That’s a wrap for news this week across the province in the transportation world. Remember to check back next week for your summary of events. If you can’t wait that long, check out our paper.li, which we publish every Tuesday.