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New contract to double speed of snow removal on Coquihalla highway

Snow must be cleared within 24 hours, not 48 hours
An Emil Anderson Maintenance vehicle clears snow along a highway in the Fraser Canyon. (Jon Nigh)

The Coquihalla will soon be cleared of snow more quickly as a new maintenance contract comes into effect this summer.

In fall 2017, the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure began accepting applications for its Request for Proposals (RFP) on a total of 27 highway maintenance service-area contracts that were coming up for renewal, including routes along the Coquihalla and inside the Fraser Valley and Canyon.

Currently, the Coquihalla region is cared for by VSA Highway Maintenance, whose contract will run out on June 31, and the Fraser Valley has been maintained by Emil Anderson Maintenance Co. Ltd, which has a large truck yard and maintenance facility in Hope, and is based in nearby Rosedale.

As part of the RFP process, successful contractors had to honour the recent labour agreements struck between the province and the B.C. Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association (BCRB), and the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU).

READ MORE: Loose dog on Coquihalla Highway has been saved

In a statement Monday, the ministry said Class A highways (including the Coquihalla) will need to be cleared to “bare pavement within 24 hours of a winter weather event ending at pavement temperatures of -9 C or warmer,” and that Yellowhead Road and Bridge will take over the Coquihalla contract, which comes with “even higher standards” for snow clearing.

The previous rules indicated 48 hours until roads had to be clear of snow, whereas new contractors will have to patrol all Class A highways every 90 minutes, instead of every four hours, during a winter storm.

Emil Anderson Maintenance was again awarded the Fraser Valley contract, as well as that for Highway 3, and the Fraser Canyon.

The new contracts awarded by the Province will come with a 10-year term and an optional five-year extension, which will provide continuity of services and extended labour peace, so travellers can rely on improved maintenance service levels that meet or exceed best practices throughout North America.

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