Current reader Nick Thomas frequently has opinions he’d like to share on issues of the day. Not infrequently they focus on the state of the Trans-Canada Highway. This letter, which was copied to The Current, was e-mailed to Highways and Infrastructure Minister Tidd Stone on May 12. Please click here to read his April 30 letter.
Todd Stone, BC Minister of Highways and Infrastructure:
Even if there is a speed-up in the 4-laning of the Trans-Canada Highway, it is probable that some existing, already- 50-year-old, 2-lane sections will remain in service for several decades. Those sections were not designed or built to handle today’s heavy traffic for many decades. What consideration has been given to maintenance of these wearing out sections of highway until they are upgraded?
Traffic volumes are already heavy enough to curtail non-essential maintenance during July and August. I know from personal experience that it is not possible to single-lane traffic after 10 am in summer without serious delays. During the busy spring and fall maintenance periods it is not unusual to have several construction zones simultaneously just in the Revelstoke area.
For example, today, 12 May, there were 4 separate construction zones between Perry River and Revelstoke, all with single-lane alternating traffic (snooper truck bridge inspection, sweeping, ditching and at the Summit Lake bridge — which is being single-laned overnight, too). In addition there is long-term construction at the Malakwa Bridge and long-term construction on two bridges on the highway in Glacier and Mount Revelstoke national parks east of Revelstoke. There was probably other work that I wasn’t aware of.
As traffic volumes grow, the maintenance windows will continue to shrink and as the road ages the maintenance demands will inevitably increase. Your ministry will have to deal with this — so how do you plan to do it?