Keeping Wildlife Moving Along the SFPR

August 20, 2014
Tracks SFPR

As people drive the new South Fraser Perimeter Road (SFPR) from Surrey to Delta, a whole other world is unfolding around them. Creatures like otter, deer, mink, waterfowl, nesting birds, turtles and coyotes are going about their daily lives seeking food, raising their young and bedding down for some rest. That’s because when we developed the SFPR, to enhance mobility and safety for people, we worked hard to minimize disruptions for other living beings – like birds, wildlife and fish. Animals (like people) move about in their daily business, so during the SFPR’s project design, we looked at where creatures travelled within the area. Then we created or maintained connections for animals to travel to their various habitats. In total, we built 80 fish and wildlife crossings (mostly culverts) below the 40-kilometre SFPR corridor, to keep animals off the road and safe from traffic. Motion-sensors, time-lapse cameras and “track...

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VSA Maintenance: Clearing the Way to Cleaner Roads

August 13, 2014
2014_supersweeper

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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3 Ways BikeBC Supports Cycling in B.C. Communities

August 9, 2014
North Vancouver Bike Lane

Local governments that want to expand cycling in their areas have until Sept. 30, 2014 to apply for BikeBC funding, in three categories. The funding supports larger and smaller projects, and projects that connect to the Gateway Program Cycling program in the Lower Mainland. When applying for the funding, local governments explain to BikeBC how new cycling lanes, trails and paths will increase physical activity and healthy living in their communities. Gateway Cycling Program funding is available to Lower Mainland communities that want to link to the Gateway Program cycling network. Projects can facilitate better connections to transit, cycling and pedestrian routes. The Provincial Cycling Investment Program contributes to major cycling infrastructure. Find out more at: motcycling@gov.bc.ca. The Cycling Infrastructure Partnerships Program assists with smaller-scale projects, such as bike lanes and paths through municipalities. BikeBC is creating opportunities for British Columbians to cycle to work and school, or for...

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How to Stay Safe While Waiting for a Tow Truck

August 6, 2014
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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Checking Culvert Choices for Highway Crossing Critters Near Nanaimo

July 30, 2014
Critters in culverts

                                    If you were an amphibian or reptile, what kind of culvert would you choose to cross under the highway? For us, it’s an important question because the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure wants these critters to use culverts as tunnels, to move safely below highways. We really don’t want them risking their necks (though it’s difficult to identify the neck on a snake or frog) by crossing over pavement. So, we’re testing two kinds of culverts in the Nanaimo area, to see which passage is preferred. The different designs affect the temperature, light and humidity of each culvert’s interior. To find out which culvert the creatures – those like toads, turtles, salamanders, snakes and newts – choose, we’re using cameras to capture their travels. Check out this video and see if...

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Why We Have 5 Big Questions about Solar Roadways

July 25, 2014
Solar road

There’s been a lot of talk about solar roadways lately, and since we’ve started to get questions about them, we thought we’d let you know where we stand on the issue. The idea of using our roads to generate power sounds great, and we’re eager to see how this technology develops, but at this moment, don’t expect to see solar provincial roadways in B.C. anytime soon. Here’s why. The concept is still very much being researched and tested. The American Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funded a test concept brought forward by the company Solar Roadways in 2011. That test was in a parking lot in Sagle, Idaho. It’s now complete, and the company is now looking for funding to move to the next phase of research and testing. A question we’d want answered is how this would stand up to a 26,000 kg logging truck trailer? Ever heard of...

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Bridging Rogers Creek to Protect Port Alberni

July 19, 2014
BN 06676_ PN 16408-0001 RogersCreek_ConstructionReport_July04

There’s a lot of digging and bridging going on at Rogers Creek in Port Alberni. The ministry is replacing the culvert, which runs under the Port Alberni Highway, with a 44-metre-long single span steel girder bridge. The bridge will provide a wider opening for Rogers Creek to pass through. Why wasn’t the culvert good enough? It was relatively small in comparison to some of the logging debris that builds up. In fact, during a 2006 storm, emergency crews needed to respond quickly to clear heavy logging debris before potentially triggering a series of damaging events. “That logging debris, if it plugged the culvert, would turn this road into a dam,” says project manager Allan Galambos. “That dam, if it then broke, would cause a lot of damage to the city of Port Alberni, which is just downstream.”With the local hospital nearby, it’s important to keep traffic flowing while crews...

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