Argo loses hwys contract

A Spanish multinational company is taking over the snow-clearing and maintenance contracts for highways and provincial roads in the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

Acciona Infrastructure Maintenance Inc. was awarded the South Okanagan and Okanagan-Shuswap zone contracts after an open bidding process, the Ministry of Transportation confirmed today.

Acciona will replace Argo Road Maintenance in the South Okanagan zone, which spans from Oyama to the border and west to Alison Lake, including the Okanagan Connector from Peachland to the Pennask Summit.

The new agreement comes into effect on May 1, 2019, meaning Argo will be responsible for provincially maintained roads until then.

In the Okanagan-Shuswap zone — spanning Fintry north past Seymour Arm — Acciona replaces JPW Road and Bridge Inc. when their contract runs out on March 31, 2019.

Twenty-six of 28 road maintenance contracts in B.C. are being tendered and awarded in 2018 and 2019 through an open bidding process. The Ministry of Transportation says the new contracts require higher standards and a more proactive approach to winter events.

Improvements to the contracts include:

  • Increased communication with the public about changing road conditions and other incidents affecting travel on B.C. roads.
  • Return Class A highways to bare pavement within 24 hours of a winter weather event ending at pavement temperatures of -9 C or warmer, when deicing chemical use is safe and effective. The previous standard was 48 hours.
  • Increase 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 forecast to occur, increase the patrol frequency to four hours. The previous standard was 24 hours.

Argo has retained the Thompson zone contract, meaning it will continue to maintain the portion of the Coquihalla and Highway 97C around Kamloops. A winning bidder for the Nicola zone, which includes the lower Coquihalla, has not been announced yet. That contract is currently held by VSA Highway Maintenance, and is set to expire at the end of June 2019.

The new contracts have a 10-year term with a five-year extension option for the province. Dollar values for the contracts have not been disclosed yet.

Acciona has a presence in 30 countries, including offices in Vancouver, and is one of the main civil works contractors working on the Site C Dam.

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