Learn All About Winter Maintenance Changes on Route to East Kootenay Highways

8488922849_f8a88ce252_oHave you ever wondered how maintenance contractors plan their approach to winter maintenance? Schedule their work around storm conditions? Or how about, what kind of equipment they have at the ready to keep BC highways safe?

Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting will be holding open house sessions to share this kind of information about updates to their winter operations and how they plan to use new technology to improve service levels and public safety in their service area at the following locations:

  • Cranbrook Public Open House – Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort – November 1st from 1-3:00 p.m.
  • Fernie Public Open House – Park Place Lodge – November 2nd from 1-3:00 p.m.
  • Invermere/Columbia Valley Public Open House – Kanata Hotel – November 30 from 4-6 p.m.

If you live in the area, we hope you can attend. If not, here’s a brief overview of the plan Mainroad has developed for a more efficient operation to provide a better level of service to meet the new winter specifications, including:

  1. Increased investment in larger, more efficient equipment (6 tridem axle, 18 tandem axle and 8 single axle plows, all with wing plows attached) supplemented with one tow plow with anti-icing capacity and one trailer sanding unit which creates a 14% increase in winter material carry capacity;
  2. Having all plows equipped with AVLS (Automated Vehicle Location System) which uses GPS to track the plow locations and ensure efficient deployment of the fleet;
  3. Relocating the maintenance yards and having greater stockpiles of materials at those yards to serve the local area better;
  4. Increasing the use of liquid anti-icing chemicals by 250% (currently use one million litres, will use 3.5 million litres) by having liquid chemical production capability and storage at all five yards;
  5. Having a “Snow Desk”: a single point of contact staffed around the clock during winter events that has authority to deploy equipment anywhere in the service area as required.

We constantly monitor the work of our maintenance contractors to ensure they are in line with the terms of their contract and are meeting our high standards. Contractors’ work is also assessed by local ministry staff within the service area and by the annual assessments of auditors from outside the service area. We also check with local stakeholders including emergency responders, elected officials and school bus operators.

Our maintenance contractors across the province work hard to make sure they are ready for anything Old Man Winter throws their way, including:

You can play an important part in keeping BC Highways safe too. Always check DriveBC before you travel and be sure to drive to road conditions. Do you have any questions about this or any other work the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure does? Let us know in the comments below. Safe travels all.

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8 Responses to Learn All About Winter Maintenance Changes on Route to East Kootenay Highways

  1. Kathryn Petrunia on October 28, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    Invermere also needs an open house

    • tranbceditor on October 31, 2016 at 1:30 pm

      Hi Kathryn,

      Thanks for the feedback. We have shared your comment forward with the local area manager for review.

    • tranbceditor on November 9, 2016 at 10:23 am

      Hi Kathryn,

      Mainroad East Kootenay is planning on having a public open house in mid November at their new yard location in Fairmont.

  2. John Chatwin on December 9, 2016 at 9:44 am

    On Dec. 6 drove from Kimberley to Fernie and back and noticed a great degree of road conditions. Between Kimberley and Cranbrook and between Jeffrey and Fernie highway was mostly bare, but between Jeffrey and Cranbrook the road was hard packed snow, icy in areas and had little to no gravel/ salt. Just wondering why?

    • tranbceditor on December 12, 2016 at 3:06 pm

      Hello John,

      We have sent your comment forward to the local area manager for review. Stay tuned.

    • tranbceditor on December 12, 2016 at 3:46 pm

      Hello John,

      We spoke with the local area manager who informed us that the section between Cranbrook and Jaffray had approximately 30 cm of snowfall between the night of December 4 and the morning of December 5.

      Mainroad East Kootenay’s Cranbrook yard maintains down to Jaffray. Unfortunately due to yard boundaries and deployment strategy by the crews on shift, they ran out of their anti and de-icing chemical during the event and were unable to remove the compact snow before road temperatures dropped below -9. The Elko yard maintains Jaffray to Fernie and had sufficient chemical to effectively de-ice to bare pavement on the highway before road temps dropped below -9. They are now responsible to remove the compact snow and apply enough chemical to de-ice the pavement as soon as road temperatures are -9 and rising for a period of 24 hours.

      Thanks again for your comment.

      • Nick Thomas on December 13, 2016 at 6:47 am

        “due to yard boundaries and deployment strategy by the crews on shift, they ran out of their anti and de-icing chemical during the event”

        Isn’t that the sort of thing that “Relocating the maintenance yards and having greater stockpiles of materials at those yards to serve the local area better” was supposed to fix?

        • tranbceditor on December 14, 2016 at 10:27 am

          Hi Nick,

          Thanks for connecting with us again here. Mainroad East Kootenay had winter chemicals for the forecasted snowfall of up to 6cm in the Cranbrook area. They had ordered more on Dec 1 for delivery early the next week. However, the forecast changed late Sunday night and there was not enough for the 30 cm snowfall. The new delivery arrived in Cranbrook once the road temperature dropped below -9.
          Mainroad East Kootenay is reviewing and revising their material plan to ensure a shortage doesn’t happen again.

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