Rock to Road

Features Aggregates Event Reports
MTO update and winter maintenance news

March 9, 2021  By Jay Koblun

Eric Doidge, assistant deputy minister of Operations Division at MTO and Jasan Bopari, director, Highway Operations Management at MTO, gave an update to the more than 500 attendees of the Ontario Road Builders’ Association’s (ORBA) Virtual Event in February with a focus on winter maintenance.

Doidge gave some background information on the Operations Division, followed by Bopari, who shared the MTO’s approach to Highway Maintenance Contracts:

  • Best-value contract procurements that focus on public safety, sustainability and value for money.
  • Continue delivery of maintenance services using the Contractor Directed Maintenance contract and Ministry directed Maintenance contract.
  • Include Indigenous participation opportunities to leverage and build capacity of local Indigenous communities and businesses.
  • Enhance public awareness by providing real-time maintenance services data.
  • Continuous improvement through research into new technologies, materials, equipment and techniques.

“Next we wanted to show a snapshot of what contracts have been awarded and what’s upcoming,” said Bopari.

Awarded contracts since 2015:

  • Kenora PBMC
  • Sudbury CDMC
  • Hamilton CDMC and Niagara CDMC
  • Huntsville CDMC
  • Peel CDMC and Halton CDMC
  • Toronto MDMD and York CDMC
  • Ottawa CDMC and Carleton Place MDMC
  • Thunder Bay East CDMC, Marathon MDMC and Kakabeka MDMC
  • Simcoe CDMC

Upcoming and approved procurements

  • North Bay CDMC
  • Cochrane and New Liskeard
  • Sault Ste. Marie

Update on Indigenous participation at MTO

Next Bopari shared the MTO’s approach to Indigenous participation.

“Highway maintenance contracts include indigenous participation through supplies and services obtained from an Indigenous business and employment of Indigenous people,” said Bopari. “Maintenance contractors have been proactive in pursuing and achieving successful employment opportunities with Indigenous people.”

Bopari also said all new Contractor Maintenance Contracts (CDMC) allocate points within the proposal evaluation scoring for building partnerships with Indigenous communities and providing Indigenous participation to any contract requirements.

“Depending on local conditions, maintenance contracts may also include a provision for mandatory minimum Indigenous participation. The Huntsville, Thunder Bay East and North Bay CDMCs included mandatory requirements for Indigenous participation.

Bopari then gave an update on the Technical Review of Highway winter Service Levels on Highways 11 and 17 in northern Ontario.

“The technical review report was published in fall 2020. The report found that current levels of service on Highway 11 and 17 generally met or exceeded provincial standards. Ontario’s contractors have been clearing snow to bare pavement faster than our standards for the highways.

Improvements planned:

  • Increased use of anti-icing liquids in advance of storms.
  • Expansion of the Road Weather Information System Network.
  • Pilot project to identify sections of highways 11 and 17 where winter maintenance standards can be enhanced as well as areas where contractors are having difficulty meeting standards.
  • Research opportunities for equipment, winter materials and innovative techniques.

Service to the public

“We also want to talk about our services to the public,” said Bopari. “We recognize that all the work we do is work the public, and what does the public expect from us?”

Bopari said the public expects; minimal disruption to travel times, minimal reductions in operating speeds ­– including slowdowns due to maintenance operations; and a desire to see winter maintenance equipment operating in real-time.

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