Snow removal standards set to increase on Malahat, Pat Bay with new contracts
In the wake of record setting snowfalls throughout coastal B.C. the province is poised to start demanding a lot more from snow removal contractors.
As the province pens dozens of new contracts with highway maintenance companies, government officials say they will demand faster service, a more proactive approach and better use of social media when winter weather strikes.
"We are recognizing for the travelling public they have more expectations,” Ministry of Transportation official Ian Pilkington told CTV news. “The other thing we have seen is a lot of new technologies, so we are starting to recognize contractors can do a better job."
According to the Ministry of Transportation, 26 of 28 provincial highway maintenance contracts are in the process of renewal, including the job to clear snow from the Malahat and Patricia Bay Highways on southern Vancouver Island.
Replacing a 15-year-old deal, new contractors will be required to bring major highways like the Malahat, the Pat Bay and Highway 14 to Sooke to bare pavement in 24 hours, replacing a previous requirement of 48 hours.
Plows will need to increase patrols from every four hours to 90 minutes, and companies will need to be active on two social media platforms when winter weather hits.
Held by Mainroad South Island Contracting the current deal to clean Capital Region highways expires in late September.
Contractors will not be required to purchase new equipment or bolster their fleets, but must meet heightened standards. Bids for the new contract end in early March with a decision made by late April.
Annually the province spends $400-million on highway maintenance contracts.