The contract for Service Area 07, which includes provincial roadways in Abbotsford, Hope and the rest of the Fraser Valley, was again awarded to Emil Anderson Maintenance Co. Ltd., which has serviced this area since 1996. The contract for Service Area 14, covering Merritt and the surrounding area, was awarded to Yellowhead Road & Bridge Ltd.
Both contracts have a 10-year term and an optional five-year extension. Both come into effect July 1, 2019, the day after the existing contracts expire.
The new maintenance contracts for all service areas require higher standards and a more proactive approach when a severe weather event occurs. Here are some of the biggest improvements over the most recent contracts:
- Increased communication with the public about rapidly changing road conditions during severe weather events and other incidents affecting travel on B.C. roads
- Return Winter Class A highways to bare pavement within 24 hours of a winter weather event ending at pavement temperatures of -9 C or warmer, when de-icing chemical use is safe and effective. The previous standard was 48 hours.
- Increased patrol frequency to 90 minutes on a Class A highway, like the Coquihalla, during a winter storm. The previous standard was four hours.
- When a weather event is forecasted, increase the patrol frequency to four hours. The previous standard was 24 hours.
- Under the new agreement, contractors will be required to be more proactive prior to a winter weather event, and to spread anti-icing chemicals prior to the weather event.
The contracts for Service Areas 07 and 14 include a provision for multi-lane plowing, which will further increase the level of service on the Coquihalla and Highway 1 between Chilliwack and Hope. This specification will ensure that all lanes on these highway sections are plowed with a maximum allowable accumulation of four centimetres of snow. When this comes into effect, drivers will see less snow accumulation.
These service areas were selected for multi-lane plowing due to high traffic volumes, significant numbers of commercial vehicles and rural mountain passes.
Together, private contractors maintain nearly 47,000 kilometres of road and 2,800 bridges in some of the most challenging terrain in Canada.
Every year, crews apply 100,000 tonnes of salt and 750,000 tonnes of winter abrasives over 1.2 million kilometres of B.C. highways.
The value of these 28 highway maintenance agreements totals approximately $400 million annually.
Follow the work of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure online: www.tranbc.ca