Shift into Winter

An initiative to keep you safe and moving during the winter season, and the work we do to make sure you are.

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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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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Winter Driving Through the Eyes of… a B.C. Firefighter

Winter Driving Through the Eyes of… a B.C. Firefighter

When winter hits, firefighters have to achieve a delicate balance between speed and safety. As emergency responders, their goal is to arrive on scene as fast as possible without putting themselves or other drivers at risk. This is Part 3 of a Shift Into Winter interview series exploring how various people, representing various professions, experience winter driving in B.C. So far, we’ve talked to paramedics and a road maintenance worker, and continue with Surrey firefighter and instructor, Reo Jerome. Here are a few excerpts from our conversation: TranBC: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Reo. Tell us about the multiple roles you play. Reo: I coordinate emergency vehicle operations programs for the Fire and Safety Division at the Justice Institute of British Columbia. As well, I’m a Captain and relief Battalion Chief with the City of Surrey Fire Department. TranBC: What are some of the safe...

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Winter Driving Through the Eyes of… Highway Maintenance

Perhaps no group monitors winter on B.C. highways more vigilantly than the ministry’s maintenance contractors. They are on call around the clock, ready to battle the ice, slush and snow that can threaten travellers’ safety at a moment’s notice. This is Part 2 of a Shift Into Winter interview series exploring how people, representing various professions, experience winter driving in B.C. We began by talking to paramedics, and continue here with Interior Roads Equipment Supervisor Rob Schwartz. Here are a few excerpts from our conversation: TranBC: Hi Ron. Tell us about yourself. What do you do to improve winter driving? Ron: I work for Interior Roads – our head office is based in Williams Lake. And I make sure that we’ve got all our equipment in tiptop shape. TranBC: What should drivers know about driving near winter maintenance vehicles? Ron: Well, what we’ve noticed here is to make sure...

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Winter Driving Through the Eyes of… Paramedics

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If a highway incident happens, the British Columbia Ambulance Service is one of the first responders on the scene. Paramedics such as Corey Viala and Annemarie Byers have seen a lot. And, sadly, a lot of what they’ve seen, including the injuries they’ve treated, was preventable. This is Part 1 of a Shift Into Winter interview series exploring how various people, representing various professions, experience winter driving in B.C. We begin by talking to Corey and Annemarie in hopes of sharing their firsthand experiences of the dangers winter can pose for those who are unprepared. Here are a few excerpts from our conversations: TranBC: Hi Corey. Tell us a bit about yourself. Corey: I’ve been a paramedic in the B.C. Ambulance Service for over 20 years. Living in a small community , I’ve witnessed many accidents that have involved people that I know… friends, co-workers, and family members. TranBC:...

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The ABCs of Winter Highway Classification and Maintenance

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Our maintenance contractors work hard every day to keep BC highways safe and traffic moving smoothly. Because British Columbia is a geographically diverse province, our contractors can face any number of unique challenges where highway maintenance is concerned, especially in winter. In order to make sure they understand exactly what is expected of them in their day to day operations, we outline our maintenance requirements in detail. Part of that detail involves classifying provincial highways. With that in mind, here’s the lowdown on winter highway classification in B.C. and what that means to you. B.C. Highways are classified A, B, C, D & E and are maintained in that order. Winter highway classifications are based on traffic volumes and function. As are the first priority; followed by Bs and Cs… you get the idea. A great example of an “A” is the Trans-Canada Highway. Highway 18, the Cowichan Valley...

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Shift Into Winter: Hitting the Ice with the Victoria Royals

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Cold weather is here and so is the need to let people know about safe winter driving. To help raise safety awareness and encourage drivers to get ready for winter driving, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure teamed up with Mainroad Contracting, DriveWise BC and Kal-Tire at a Victoria Royals game on November 15, 2013 to engage drivers in a unique way. The Shift Into Winter campaign members will also be hosting activities at a Vancouver Giants game on January 10, 2014. Think your winter driving skills are road ready?  A crowd of fans lined up for DriveWise’s driving simulator to test their talents. Some did well…others…not so much. During breaks in the game, fans were also busy taking the winter driving safety quiz for a chance to win money toward a set of winter tires. Learning safety and prizes…not a bad combination. With BC drivers across the province...

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The Web Cam You Won’t See on DriveBC

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While we have close to 300 web cams offering a total of almost 400 views that motorists use for safe travel in B.C., there’s one web cam with a special job that you won’t see. You won’t see the web cam alongside Highway 31 north of Kaslo, on DriveBC, because its focus isn’t road conditions – it’s Lardeau Bluffs, which loom high above the road along Kootenay Lake. Avalanche technicians with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure use the web cam as a tool to help forecast avalanche hazards and determine the best times for avalanche control. Installed about a year ago, the cam provides a close-up of avalanche start zones and a wide angle view for big picture information about Lardeau Bluffs. Faraway, Volatile and Challenging Avalanche Technician Kevin Maloney describes Lardeau Bluffs as “faraway, volatile and challenging to reach and work on.” The area along Highway 31...

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Adding “Pow” to the Plow for Winter Safety

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Elementary school children recently painted bright designs on three snowplows and a grader for some educational fun, in Golden. Road maintenance contractor HMC Services Inc. arranged for three fully equipped tandem axle plow trucks and one grader to attend all three of Golden’s elementary schools in October, for sessions about snow plow safety. About 300 students got to see the equipment up close, climb on it and ask questions. HMC Selkirk Division Manager Greg Ehman and his crew talked to the youngsters about where to stand while waiting for the school bus and how to ensure they are seen, by making eye contact with the snow plow driver, and advised them to build snow forts and tunnels well away from roads. After the safety discussion, the kids were equipped with paints and brushes to paint the plow blades. Each plow received its own bright, imaginative design. At Lady Grey...

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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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