The province hopes its latest road maintenance deal will keep Vancouver Island safer during the winter months.
In a news release Friday morning, the Ministry of Transportation announced it has finalized new contacts with Mainroad Contracting to ensure better highway driving conditions.
The contract for Service Area 02, which is responsible for provincial roadways in Nanaimo, Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni has been awarded to Mainroad Mid-Island Contracting LP, and the contract for Service Area 03, which covers Comox Valley, Campbell River and Port Hardy, has been awarded to Mainroad North Island Contracting LP.
Mainroad South Island Contracting has already been responsible for provincial roads between Chemainus and Greater Victoria since September 2004.
Both of the new contracts will run for 10 years beginning Sept. 1, 2018, with the option for a five-year extension.
New road improvement stipulations outlined in these contracts include:
- Return Highway 19, Highway 4 and other Class A winter highways to bare pavement within 24 hours of a severe weather event. The previous standard was 48 hours at temperatures of -9 C or warmer.
- Expanded sweeping along cycling routes.
- Increased communication with the public to rapidly changing road conditions during severe weather events and other incidents affecting travel on B.C. roads.
- When a weather event is forecasted to occur, increase the patrol frequency to four hours in anticipation of the weather event. The previous standard was 24 hours.
Each year road crews apply 750,000 tonnes of winter abrasives and 100,000 tonnes of salt to more than 1.2 million kilometres of highways in B.C. They also award 28 maintenance contracts throughout the province at a cost of $400 million annually.