Lessons learned and a few tweaks have our region’s highways maintenance contractor confident heading into winter.
Mainroads East Kootenay is entering the second year of its new seven year contract that started with a lot public scrutiny and recording breaking snowfall last year.
General Manager Al Sanders says their fleet is now full with the new, bigger trucks and they’ve made adjustments to shift scheduling.
Sanders nervously chuckles, adding hopefully we don’t get another one in 100 year winter.
He believes last winter was the perform storm; first year of a contract, short window for prep time and a well-above average winter made it hard for everyone.
Sanders suggests the biggest change from last year was having more time to implement new specifications of the contract and conduct training.
He says it takes time, explaining a lot of their employees have been doing the job for a long time and its a matter of them learning the new equipment and technology and understanding how the changes can be positive and help them in their day-to-day work.
Mainroad East Kootenay came under fire at the beginning of the winter for their level of service and response times.
Residents criticized the use of new chemicals and equipment.
Then Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett publicly criticized the contractor for their work.
At the conclusion of the seasnon, the Ministry of Transportation said in March they had confidence in Mainroad East going forward.
District Manager Ron Sharp said there was remove for improvement on secondary and rural roads but for the most part Mainroad was meeting provincial standards.
– Mainroad East Kootenay GM Al Sanders