Road Maintenance

Updates and background on the work we do to maintain and rehab BC bridges and highways during the spring, summer and fall.

Drive a BC Highway in 15,000 Photos

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Ever hear of a kineograph? We hadn’t until now, but we knew about the more common term for the same thing: a “flip book”. You’ve probably seen them before – a thick book filled with pictures that seems to come alive when you flip through the pages. It may seem like a primitive form of entertainment now, but back in the day, it was the equivalent of a home theater system, without the surround sound, of course. What do flip books have to do with transportation? We’ll make that connection in just a bit, but to start, it’s fair to say if you want a good flip book, you need lots of pictures to make it work. And we’ve got millions of pictures of roads. Usually when people say, “millions”, they really mean, “a lot”. Not us. We literally have millions of images. Every few years we send a...

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VSA Maintenance: Clearing the Way to Cleaner Roads

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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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What We Do with Abandoned Vehicles on BC Highways

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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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Customer Satisfaction Survey 2014

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We are looking for feedback on the services the ministry provides around the province. Whether it is our person-to-person or electronic customer service or the quality of service we provide to keep our provincial highway system safe and reliable, we want to hear from you. REDIRECTING … We are forwarding you to the Customer Satisfaction Survey Site. If you do not get forwarded automatically, click here.

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Tell TranBC

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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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Can You Guess the #1 Cone Zone Violation?

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The Vancouver Police Department, RCMP and CVSE helped kick start the Cone Zone roadside worker safety awareness campaign by setting up undercover enforcement operations at work zones around the province last Monday (May 12). The #1 violation in Vancouver? Mobile phones. Of 30 violations caught by police at 500 West Georgia Street and 700 Richards Street, 27 were for distracted driving involving mobile phones. At the Burrard Street Bridge, 44 offences were ticketed, mostly involving mobile phones and speeding. “Some motorists/drivers are still not getting the message about the dangers of using an electronic device while driving,” says VPD Inspector Les Yeo. “It’s foolish and puts all road users at risk, including traffic controllers who are trying to get you to your destination safely.” To blend in with the work zones and get a more authentic view of drivers’ behaviours, some officers disguised themselves as road workers. While police...

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Why is Line Painting a Challenge on the Coquihalla?

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Spring has sprung (sorta) across B.C., which means our maintenance contractors are out on our highways, shifting from winter maintenance to warmer weather activities like sweeping, paving, mowing and brushing. Our line marking contractors are also gearing up for a busy season, ready to hit the highway as soon as they can. Weather is definitely a factor in getting the job done, and one of the most challenging stretches, we’re sure you can imagine, is Highway 5 aka the Coquihalla. One of the more frequent comments/questions we get in around this area is the visibility of line painting so we wanted to make sure you were in the loop on what we’re doing and some of the challenges. Winter maintenance activities, such as snow plowing and sanding, cause significant seasonal “wear and tear” (aka erosion) on lane markings. As the Coquihalla is a high elevation pass, we often see...

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A Look Behind the Scenes at Winter Maintenance in B.C.

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When the snow starts falling, the plows hit the roads. Sounds like it could almost be a country song, but it’s also the theme of our latest video, which was shot on location in the east Kootenays this winter with the help of our local maintenance contractor, Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting. We touch on a lot of topics in this one, like which streets get plowing priority, how often contractors plow (spoiler: they’re plowing 24/7, if required) and the use of salt and winter abrasive. Check it out and let us know, does this video answer any of your winter maintenance questions? Did it raise any new ones? Are there other videos like this you’d like to see about other topics? Leave us a comment below or connect with us on Twitter of Facebook and tell us what you think.

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Getting a Grip on Some Slippery Road Safety Questions

Getting a Grip on Some Slippery Road Safety Questions

We received a couple of questions recently about traffic and traction. This isn’t the typical type of traction query we get this time of year (most of those are focused around winter tires and chains). To paraphrase, the first question went something like this: With lots of use, do paved roads get more slippery over time? It’s an interesting question, and one that intuitively makes sense. If you have a lot of traffic travelling a road, all that friction should gradually wear the pavement down smooth, creating a slippery surface. Thankfully, the engineers that design our roads have taken that possibility into account and have developed strict standards about the type of rock used in our pavement – they need to be durable and angular to provide the best traction possible. Softer rocks, which could easily round over time aren’t used. In fact, as a pavement ages over time...

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Winter Driving in the East Kootenays

Winter Driving in the East Kootenays

If you live in or travel through the East Kootenays, you know what the weather and the roads have been like lately. If you haven’t been through there in the last couple of weeks, well, here’s a quick recap of what you missed out on: winter driving conditions. Everywhere. Now this area certainly isn’t any stranger to winter. The snow can fall thick and fast, and quick weather changes can mean dramatically different road conditions from one kilometre to the next.  But the winter driving conditions have been more severe than usual. Why? What Happened It all started in late November with a series of snow falls at near zero temperatures. Being near freezing, some of the snow melted, creating slush.  Fairly typical weather for the area at this time of year. Then things changed. An intense snowstorm set in, with accumulations up to 9 cm an hour. And...

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