Mainroad Mid Island Contracting has won a 10-year highway maintenance contract for the Ministry of Transportation to service provincial Highway 4. They have secured a work yard in Ucluelet, and effective Nov. 15, 2018, the crew of about 50 winter staff will be ready for full operations.
“We’re looking after everything from Taylor River out to the end of Highway 4 here in Ucluelet and out to Tofino, with the exception of the Park [Reserve] part, but we are working on getting the contract for that,” said Mainroad manager Geoff Gwynne at an information session in Ucluelet on Nov.5.
In the event of a storm or heavy snowfall, the Mainroad operations team will be responsible for post-storm clean up and plowing the highway. Services also include repairing signs and bridges, fixing drainage problems, and filling potholes.
Gwynne said the new contract with the ministry means stricter response times and environmental procedures.
“The highway maintenance standards, particularly for winter, are higher than they used to be. So the response time to deal with the removal of snow and slippery conditions are considerably shorter than they used to be,” he said.
In terms of environmental practices, Gwynne said Mainroad is in the process of upgrading storage pits to prevent water contamination and they are switching to a liquid based road winterizer.
“You’re much more likely to see a tanker spray what looks to be water, but it isn’t. It’s 23 per cent salt brine solution and that gives us freeze protection down to well past minus-nine,” said Gwynne, adding that the solution means there will be less chloride going into the environment and it is faster acting on the road.
About 25 new pieces of new snow removal equipment have been ordered for the contract and several pieces of contract equipment for serious winter storms on back-up reserve, notes Gwynne.
The new equipment is all set up with GPS units.
“That can tell me where the truck is, how fast it’s going, whether the plow is up or down, what it’s doing, and it also builds a data base, which is handy because we can tell where we’ve been. Makes it a lot easier to properly use the fleet so people aren’t going back over the same roads,” said Gwynne.
Anyone planning a trip is encouraged to visit www.drivebc.ca for current road conditions.
If you see anything that needs servicing on the provincial highway, said Gwynne, report it to Mainroad dispatch.
The Mainroad 24-hour hotline is: 1-877-215-6006.
READ MORE: Ucluelet police urge caution on roads as winter nears (Nov. 14, 2018)