Ontario releases winter highway maintenance plan
By Andrew Macklin
June 26, 2015 – Ontario released the Winter Highway Maintenance Action Plan in response to the Auditor General of Ontario’s report on winter highway maintenance.
The plan lays out how the province will continue to improve winter road conditions, keep drivers better informed and increase oversight of winter maintenance contractor performance.
In time for Winter 2015-16, Ontario will:
- Add more equipment, such as standalone spreaders in remote, rural and congested urban areas
- Apply more anti-icing liquids to roads before winter storms so highways are less slippery when bad weather begins
- Improve the Ontario 511 website by adding live camera images and time-stamped road condition information
- Launch a Track My Plow program in the Owen Sound and Simcoe County areas so people can see where plows are operating on their highway or travel route
- Work with contractors to improve equipment readiness and ensure there are trained operators available during the winter season
- Add dash cams in patrol vehicles and install more than 30 stand-alone roadside cameras at strategic locations.
Ontario has already taken steps to improve winter maintenance contracts, including a new contract with greater oversight provisions for the Kenora area to Emcon Services Inc., a Canadian company with 27 years of experience. The contract includes stronger requirements for winter snow clearing operations, including identifying expected levels for use of salt, sand and anti-icing liquids as well as prescriptive equipment and road patrolling requirements. All future winter maintenance contracts will include these new requirements.