South Cariboo regional directors are driving home the need for road repairs across the entire region.
The move comes after the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure asked directors to list their top three priorities in the region. At a South Cariboo Joint Committee meeting Thursday, directors agreed to send a letter to the ministry outlining the need for improvements across the region. Some of the roads cited for fixes included Canim-Hendrix, Horse Lake, Canim Lake South, Mahood Lake and Timothy Lake roads.
Margo Wagner, director for Forest Grove-Canim Lake, noted Canim Lake South is an old logging road with a wood base and needs a full rebuild to replace the sinkholes and failing culverts. At the same time, other directors mentioned flooding on Timothy Lake Road, safety issues on Mahood Lake Road and sections of Highway 24 that were repaved after the 2017 fires and are already failing.
Wagner said the previous transportation minister had suggested a rural roads fund would be set up, but it’s needed now.
“There are some major road issues coming up here and if we don’t fix them there’s going to be some safety issues coming up,” she said.
A spokesperson with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure acknowledged in an email to the Free Press that the high groundwater conditions brought on by spring melt and an unusually wet fall are contributing to current road surface issues in the region. Although they did not confirm if there was a rural roads budget, the ministry said the South Cariboo service area has a 10-year maintenance contract, which took effect on June 1, 2019, at an annual value of $15.9 million.
This money is used for everything from pothole patching to maintenance of gravel roads, signage maintenance, bridge repair, crack sealing, snow and ice control, drainage management and traffic management, the email stated.
“Our maintenance contractor has been patrolling and monitoring Cariboo roads to ensure safe travel is maintained.”