Feature Articles

Why We Have To Say ‘Goodbye’ to the Old Spences Bridge

SB 2

We’ve gotten a number of questions lately about why we closed the Old Spences Bridge. There are a number of things we took into consideration before making the decision, but here’s the scoop: The Old Spences Bridge crosses the Thompson River and the CN railway between Highway 8 and the community of Spences Bridge. Built in 1931, the old bridge is a single lane affair and, at 83 years old, well past its design life of 50 years. In 2009, following our annual bridge inspection, Old Spences Bridge was closed because of concerns over its structural integrity. Meetings were held in 2009 and 2010 presenting information about the condition of the bridge to the local community. It was stressed that the bridge was continuing to deteriorate, and the life span of the old bridge was coming to an end. We heard from the locals concerned about the dismantling of...

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VSA Maintenance: Clearing the Way to Cleaner Roads


VSA is the maintenance contractor that looks after highways around Lytton and Merritt, including the Coquihalla. They’re always on the lookout for ways to improve how they do things, and they recently found a new way to keep the highways clean. The machine they’ve developed was made in partnership with Tanguay, a company from Quebec. It’s called the SA 150, and it’s basically a super sweeper, allowing VSA to sweep highways faster with less impact to traffic. Just how super is this sweeper? Well, before we get into too much detail here, let me introduce Gary Zecchel. Gary is the CEO of VSA Maintenance, and we asked him to talk about the new sweeper, how it came about and what it means for travellers. What do you think about the new sweeper? Connect with us in the comments below, or use Facebook or Twitter, and let us know your...

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How to Stay Safe While Waiting for a Tow Truck

Tow truck in action

You could be anywhere when your vehicle fails unexpectedly. Whether it’s a busy freeway or a quiet neighbourhood street, there’s a sense of vulnerability when you’re left stranded. Tow truck operators like Larry Styba regularly come to B.C. travellers’ rescue. That’s their job. But their job puts them in vulnerable positions, too. We recently talked to Larry about how travellers can protect themselves and tow truck operators in cone zones on B.C. Highways. TranBC: Hi Larry. Thanks for joining us. Please start by introducing yourself. Larry: My name is Larry Styba and I work with Maple Ridge Towing. I’m a WreckMaster Level 6/7, certified towing and recovery operator. I’m also our public relations person as well as driver trainer. Protecting Tow Truck Operators TranBC: What can drivers do to travel safely near tow truck operators working roadside? Larry: The biggest thing about vehicles passing my roadside hookup scenes, or...

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Only You Can Prevent Roadside Wildfires

BC wildfire

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure works around the clock with safety in mind, but we need your help with something. Could you butt out? You heard us right, we need you to put that cigarette butt out properly when you are finished smoking. Warmer temperatures may mean fun in the sun for you, but they also mean higher fire hazard ratings across the province and cigarette carelessness is the key culprit in many of the wildfires that occur on roadways during the summer.Cigarettes are not the only culprit to blame. Here are some other ways that wildfires are started along roadsides: Did you know that bottles and broken glass can act as a magnifying glass, catching the sun and sparking fires through reflection? Keep your drink containers in your car until you get to your destination and recycle them. Barbeques and summer go hand in hand. When you...

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16 Ways BikeBC is Opening Up the Road for BC Cyclists

Biking BC

“Brains before beauty, wear your helmet!” – Unknown Good advice. I’m noticing more and more people taking up cycling as a way to get out and enjoy the scenery, but one of the most popular reasons is to get their “exercise on” and live a healthier lifestyle. Now there’s going to be a few more options to do that. As part of our BikeBC program, we’re joining with 13 communities to expand and build cycling lanes, trails and paths. They include… Barriere – River Trail Network, Bartlett Road at Airfield Road to Yard Road at Highway 5 Capital Regional District – Rainbow Road (Salt Spring Island) separated bike path Castlegar – 17th Street/Connors Road multi-use separated path City of North Vancouver – 3rd Street multi-use path and bike lane Coquitlam – Glen Drive bikeway bike lanes and shared roadway Coquitlam – Cross town route removal of impediments Spuraway/Mariner intersection upgrade...

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What We Do with Abandoned Vehicles on BC Highways

road maintenance on BC Highway

Parked along the highway, abandoned vehicles can be eerie, mysterious, even menacing…. You can’t help but wonder…what happened to the occupants? What is the story behind the vehicle left behind? Whenever the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure employees or contractors spot (or hear of) an unoccupied vehicle roadside, our first thought is safety. If the abandoned vehicle is in any part of a lane, or in the way of snow removal equipment, it’s a danger to traffic and will be towed immediately. (This is in the B.C. Transportation Act). So if your vehicle has broken down while you’re on the road, move it to the shoulder if you can do so safely, or call a tow truck, if you’re able. A Path to Keeping Highways Clear To keep highways and road shoulders unobstructed for traffic, the ministry has a procedure to deal with abandoned vehicles. The road surface, plus...

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To Drive and Protect


How You Can Save Police from Roadside Injuries Police officers not only enforce Cone Zones, they are also protected by them.  Sure, bright orange pylons aren’t usually present to announce when an officer is in a vulnerable position, but drivers should still approach with caution police and other emergency personnel working along roads. RCMP Staff Sgt. Pat McTiernan has been experiencing Cone Zones from the perspectives of both enforcer and roadside worker for 35 years. He has been struck, tended to scenes where others have been struck, and witnessed many forms of dangerous driving through work zones. We recently had a one-on-one with McTiernan, in which he talked about his near death experience while on the job, and ways the average driver can prevent roadside tragedies. TranBC: Welcome Staff Sgt. Please introduce yourself. McTiernan: My name is Staff Sgt. Pat McTiernan. I’m the Operations NCO for the North District...

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Tell TranBC


What Do You Want to Know More About? Are you looking for something on TranBC but can’t find it? Or have a question about what the ministry does and why we do it? Share your question with us and we’ll try to get you an answer. Who knows – your question could be our next blog! Thank you – we couldn’t do this without YOU.

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Cone Zone Campaign

Cone Zone Campaign

When spring construction season ramps up, the Cone Zone BC campaign kicks in to raise awareness for roadside worker safety. The numbers speak for themselves: These startling stats make it clear drivers need to undergo a major shift in attitude to help protect people representing a wide range of professions – from traffic controllers and construction crews, to emergency personnel and truck drivers tending to their vehicles. A good place to start thinking about roadside worker safety is by hearing their stories. We all need to respect the Cone Zone.

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Behind the Scenes: Traffic Planning for Major Athletic Events


Picture 5,300 cyclists launching from Vancouver, to pedal 122 kilometres up the scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway to Whistler, in a few hours. Or, imagine more than 2,500 Ironman athletes cycling and running a total of 222 kilometres on Highway 99, around Whistler and Pemberton (after a 3.8-kilometre swim in Alta Lake). It’s easy to do – picturing it, not performing it! Photos and accounts of the grit, grime and guts it takes to do the annual RBC Whistler GranFondo and last year’s first-ever Subaru Ironman Canada Whistler tell the story. But have you wondered how the way is cleared for those epic events to happen? How do uber athletes compete free and safe from motor vehicles, spectators get breathtaking views, and diverted motor vehicles maintain their momentum? Pounds of Planning Well, like the athletes, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure does 2,000 pounds (a tonne) of preparation for major athletic...

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