The recently installed roundabout on Highway 5 in Clearwater will be something new but staff at Argo Road Maintenance don’t anticipate any major difficulties in keeping it clear of snow.
That was the word from Dale Schneider, Argo operations manager, during a winter awareness meeting held recently at the company’s maintenance yard in Clearwater.
The meeting is held every year as winter approaches to improve communication and planning among the different agencies involved in highway maintenance and safety.
Organizations represented this year included RCMP, District of Clearwater, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, BC Parks, On Call Towing, and Lakes District Maintenance from Blue River.
One significant change for Argo in the North Thompson Valley is the three new municipalities of Clearwater, Barriere and Sun Peaks taking over road maintenance, said Schneider.
Even though District of Clearwater took over maintenance of the roads within its boundaries (other than Highway 5 and the road to Wells Gray Park) this year, the local Argo winter crew and equipment will remain as it was, the operations manager said.
There is a reciprocal agreement with the District that will see the municipal contractor, Borrow Enterprises, snowplow isolated roads in the Candle Creek and Sunshine Valley areas that outside the municipal boundaries. In return, Argo will take care of Dunn Lake Road south of the North Thompson River.
“I expect in the first year there will be some confusion. I ask the public to be patient,” Schneider said.
First priority continues to be Highway 5, followed by the school bus routes. If there is no school, the school bus routes revert to the priority of regular roads.
“Our headache is starting,” said Cpl. Bart Doerr of Clearwater RCMP’s traffic services. He noted that police will not respond to minor accidents if no injuries are involved and no vehicle is blocking the road.
“We have some very experienced road maintenance people on staff. I am confident in their abilities,” said Doug Borrow. His company, Borrow Enterprises, recently won the contract to maintain the roads within District of Clearwater’s boundaries. Two trucks and a grader will be dedicated to working within town, he said, plus there are several other pieces of equipment available as backup.
District of Clearwater is working to obtain land to locate a weather station on, said chief administrative officer Leslie Groulx. NavCanada already operates several weather cams from the roof of the Sportsplex.