Ministry of Transportation says AIM Roads fell short on Commonage Road maintenance

AIM fails on Commonage

During the two significant snowfalls so far this season, the Ministry of Transportation says AIM Roads failed to meet provincial standards on Commonage Road in Vernon.

"Through monitoring and auditing of the contractor's performance, ministry staff have documented that AIM Roads did not meet our maintenance specifications on Commonage Road during the significant snowfalls," the ministry said in an email to Castanet.

"They were found to be out of specification for the maximum allowable snow accumulation on the road, and for not meeting the response time for restoring traction to the road once slippery conditions were documented."

Commonage Road was bumped up to a Class B route after a 2018 road study, and according to the province, a Class B road must have less than six centimetres of accumulated snow in one lane, each direction. The response time for slippery conditions in critical areas, such as intersections, curves and incident-prone locations, is 90 minutes after the conditions were reported. All other locations on the road have a three-hour response period.

While the ministry did not provide hard data on response times or snow accumulation, residents of the area reached out to Castanet last week to voice their concerns over the winter road maintenance this year.

Members of the Commonage Road Improvement Committee said AIM is "over their heads" and "not prepared for the workload and vast area that they needed to cover." The committee cited a multi-vehicle collision on Commonage Road on Nov. 10 as a cause for concern.

AIM Roads previously directed any comment to the ministry, and a spokesperson did not return messages on Wednesday. 

"As citizens and taxpayers of B.C., we are fed up," says Jane Toppozini, chair of CRIC. "We need something done before we see another major fatality on Commonage Road."

Members of the committee have been in contact with the ministry other over the issue.

"Ministry staff have been in communication with stakeholders on Commonage Road about their concerns with the level of service and are working closely with AIM Roads on the non-conformance process," says the ministry. "A root-cause analysis and corrective action plan is being put together to ensure the contractor is able to meet the contract specifications for these winter maintenance activities going forward."

The ministry says it will continue to keep an eye on the area to ensure service levels are improved when more snow comes. 

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