More plows and brine trucks will be operating on the Highway 97 corridor this winter.
David Rhodes, of Dawson Group, which has the contract to maintain the highways, told the South Cariboo Joint Committee last week that they have added two brine trucks to the three already in 100 Mile and Bridge Lake area, another one in Clinton. Three more tandem wing trucks for the 100 Mile area, one in Bridge Lake and a new truck in Clinton will bolster the fleet, which “will make a huge difference especially for the main highway,” Rhodes said.
“We also increased capacity in the brine system and storage system, compared to where we started last year, and a duplicate of the 100 Mile system is now in the process of being installed in Clinton.”
The company will also make some shift changes this winter, with more crews starting earlier to overlap coverage throughout the day.
The winter preparations come on the heels of a busy summer, in which Dawson responded to 85 active emergency sites this year compared to a usual 20 to 25, as a result of the freshet and flooding in early July. Nine roads were closed on the July 1 weekend, while another 20 sites saw smaller emergencies, Rhodes said.
“That’s a pretty tremendous event to try and manage through that season,” he said.
Other work done this summer included gravelling sections of Canim Lake South Road, 300 km of roadside drainage, aerial brushing 3,000 kilometres of mowing, 400-lane km of roadside brushing, and installing culverts in the entire 108 Mile subdivision to try and improve drainage. Dawson is now working on gravelling roads in the Pressy Lake and Young’s Lake area and plans to go back to Canim Lake South Road this year.
CRD Chair Margo Wagner said the gravel on Canim Lake South Road was appreciated this summer. But she added that if the situation for flooding was bad this year, next year is likely to be worse.
“If you thought this year was bad in spring for road closures and slides, you aint seen nothing yet,” she said. “Every lake is higher, the ground is absolutely saturated. If we get normal snowpack and normal spring rain it isn’t going to be pretty.”