New hwy contracts inked

New highways maintenance contracts have been awarded for the Fraser Valley and Nicola, with improved standards and better highway conditions, the province says.

The contract for Service Area 07, which includes provincial roadways in Abbotsford, Hope and the rest of the Fraser Valley, was again awarded to Emil Anderson Maintenance, which has serviced this area since 1996. The contract for Service Area 14, covering Merritt and the surrounding area, was awarded to Yellowhead Road & Bridge Ltd.

Both contracts have a 10-year term and an optional five-year extension. They come into effect July 1.

New maintenance contracts for all service areas now require higher standards and a more proactive approach to severe weather events, including:

  • Increased communication with the public about rapidly changing road conditions.
  • Return Winter Class A highways to bare pavement within 24 hours of a winter weather event ending at pavement temperatures of -9 C or warmer, when de-icing chemical use is safe and effective. The previous standard was 48 hours.
  • Increased 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, increase patrol frequency to four hours, from 24 hours.
  • Contractors to spread anti-icing chemicals prior to the weather event.

The contracts include a provision for multi-lane plowing, which will further increase the level of service on the Coquihalla and Highway 1 between Chilliwack and Hope. This specification will ensure that all lanes on these highway sections are plowed with a maximum allowable accumulation of four centimetres of snow.

When this comes into effect, drivers will see less snow accumulation, the Ministry of Transportation says. 

The value of the 28 highway maintenance agreements across B.C. totals approximately $400 million annually.

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