Regional winter road maintenance operations underway

Regional winter road maintenance operations underway

Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting shifting into winter as snow season fast approaches

Winter road maintenance operations have been underway for the last two weeks as Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting gears up for another winter season in the region.

With a territory that stretches from Yahk, to Radium Hot Springs and the Alberta and U.S. borders, Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting is responsible for maintaining the roads in all seasons.

Now that winter has arrived, the company is reminding drivers to be aware of road and weather conditions as well as to drive safely when in close proximity to winter maintenance vehicles.

“The biggest thing for us is public safety,” said Andries De Witt, the general manager for Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting. “and then obviously the safety of our own employees on the roads and respecting the plows out there.”

De Witt notes that plows will be travelling at speeds between 30-60 kilometres an hour when operating on the roads and that drivers should have a buffer zone of 10 car lengths .

“They trucks will move over when safe to do so,” he said.

The company has five yards in the region, with a main base in Cranbrook and satellite yards in Yahk, Fairmont, Elko and Sparwood, utilizing a fleet of 20 tandem axles, six single-axle and six tri-axle trucks and plows.

Mainroad is constantly gathering aggregate weather data from various sources as well as subscribing to a forecasting service that specifically examines road conditions, along with atmospheric forecasting.

When a weather event is coming up, managers meet to take stock of equipment and materials needed for the affected area. The type of weather event and the amount of forecasted moisture, whether in the form of rain, sleet or snow, will determine what materials are used, according to Richard Douglas, Mainroad’s operations manager.

Sometimes, crews to go out ahead of a weather event and pre-treat the roads, depending on the anticipated conditions, he added.

“We’re basically keeping the roads open during a snow event,” Douglas said. “The expectation for perfect road conditions, as the snow is falling, is a little bit unbalanced with reality.”

Once the weather event is over, then its time to get surfaces back to normal, he added.

“Now we’re talking about widening shoulders, we’re talking about a post-event treatment of the roads, clean up, if there’s any remaining compact snow or slush that the plow blades can’t actually remove, then we would do another chemical treatment,” Douglas said.

“Are there any additional slippery sections that are left that need additional sand or other materials? That sort of stuff.”

Once all that is complete, then mangers then meet for a post-event rundown and address any operational issues that arose in order to prepare for next time.

Public outreach and communication has been a key priority for the company, according to spokesperson Nikki Taylor.

The company completed a survey in 2018 ahead of the winter season to gather public feedback and responses to winter operations. Since then, the company beefed up outreach with a larger social media presence (Facebook & Twitter), posting weather advisories and bulletins as well as real-time operational content of crews in action.

A 24-hour phone line (1-800-665-4929) has also been set up for area residents to call and bring forward any concerns, while the website has an FAQ page and other content.

Mainroad is responsible for regional highways maintenance and rural roads not included in municipal boundaries. The company services 3,673 lane kilometres, including 106 bridges and four tunnels.



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

The Aquatic Centre at Western Financial Place.
Cranbrook Aquatic Center to close temporarily

The annual shutdown of the Aquatic Center at Western Financial Place will begin earlier than scheduled this year and does not have a defined end date at this time.

The latest EKASS survey confirms a steady decline in substance use among EK youth over the years. (image compilation via Pixabay)
Latest survey shows steady decline in adolescent substance use over the years

Starting in 2002, the survey has been conducted every two years to monitor changes in substance use patterns, attitudes and behaviors amongst East Kootenay youth.

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Ryan McKenzie of the Kimberley Trails Society made an in-depth presentation to City Council describing the initial steps of the Electrify the Mountains eBike trails project. This is a look at the project one map.
Kimberley City Council hears details on Electrify the Mountain project

At the meeting of City Council on Tuesday, June 8 Ryan McKenzie… Continue reading

The Kimberley Public Library invites kids of all ages to join the 2021 BC Summer Reading Club. Kimberley Public Library file
Kimberley kids invited to join summer reading club at Public Library

The Kimberley Public Library invites kids of all ages to join the… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Most Read