Road maintenance - Letters

Road maintenance - Letters

Postby wisdom01 » Mar 2nd, 2018, 9:46 pm

Letter here > https://www.castanet.net/edition/news-s ... htm#220063

In a nutshell the letter points out the poor level of road maintenance being carried out on our highways.

I couldn't agree more.

And, it's so easy for the contractor to just shut the road down rather than spend the time clearing it. By shutting the road down it not only delays the clearing (ie: saves them money) but it penalizes those of us that can safely and sanely drive in poor winter conditions.

Recently during a snow event I had a trip to Alberta ... on he way out I anecdotally observed more plows active in AB than BC ... on the way back I counted. From Calgary to the BC border I counted 12 active plows ... from the BC border to the Okanagan I counted 1, yup, 1 plow ... and that was only there because there had been an accident on the hill outside of Golden so I guess they thought they better throw a bit of sand around to make it look like they had been busy. An incredible difference in the quality of road maintenance. I get it that it's a lot easier to maintain roads in the flat country, but shouldn't that mean you should see an even greater amount of plows on BC roads to keep up that same standard?

Say what you want about government inefficiency but the roads were way better maintained when it was a government run operation.

6 people like this post.
User avatar
wisdom01
 
Posts: 51
Likes: 128 posts
Liked in: 74 posts
Joined: Mar 2nd, 2018, 9:31 pm

Re: Road maintenance - Letters

Postby Urban Cowboy » Mar 3rd, 2018, 12:26 am

wisdom01 wrote:Say what you want about government inefficiency but the roads were way better maintained when it was a government run operation.


No doubt cost a lot more too.
"Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig."
- Robert A. Heinlein
User avatar
Urban Cowboy
Lord of the Board
 
Posts: 3771
Likes: 3624 posts
Liked in: 5505 posts
Joined: Apr 27th, 2013, 3:47 pm

Re: Road maintenance - Letters

Postby Smurf » Mar 3rd, 2018, 6:46 am

Exactly where do cost and safety meet. Should we deliberately risk lives to save money. I do not believe so. From what I have seen there would probably not be a driver alive that could have avoided that last big accident on the Coq once they crested the hill and hit the ice. Possibly by hitting the ditch but they were trying that already with little success other than making their impact less damaging. Sometimes mother nature requires serious action. Due to the nature of many of the roads in BC we require much better maintenance than most of the rest of the province. Within reason cost is the last thing we should be considering unless we just close the roads at a certain level. but anyone that has driven winter roads much realizes that conditions can change in a moment and even knowing when to close them can be a real problem. The question is are we actually doing the best we can or are decisions being based on money and profits.
Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you'll understand what little chance you have of changing others.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything, they just make the most of everything that comes their way.

2 people like this post.
User avatar
Smurf
Guru
 
Posts: 9163
Likes: 14716 posts
Liked in: 5366 posts
Joined: Aug 12th, 2006, 8:55 am
Location: Okanagan BC

Re: Road maintenance - Letters

Postby Tony » Mar 3rd, 2018, 7:04 am

I had the pleasure of going to Trail last week. Of course, I had to go the day it was supposed to snow, but I headed out diligently. The Anarchist was a little cruddy going up to the summit, but it had been plowed and sanded, so it' wasn't horrible. Now, could they drop their blades a little lower to clean a little better? For sure, but they were still passable. From the summit (approximately) to the top of the Blueberry Paulsen, the roads were in great condition. Whether the weather system that hit the South Okanagan didn't go there, or if that team of road workers know how to clear a road, I'm not sure. From the top of the BP pass to Trail, which switches to another maintenance office, was some of the worst I had driven on this year. The company keeps their blades a solid 4-6" above the road grade. The roads were compact snow covered, not well sanded, and rough as heck. When I got to my destination, I mentioned the deplorable condition of the roads, and was informed that this has been going on for a couple of years.

To the road contractors:
I get it, if you drop your blade all the way down, it wears, and there's a cost involved. Next time bid so that you can do that. If you're bidding so you can do that, but not doing it to increase your bottom line, get the h*ll out of the way and let somebody step in who's not scared to keep the people of BC safe by clearing the roads. You shouldn't have bid on the job if you're not willing to do it right.

When the Government took care of the roads years and years ago, they dropped their blades and cleared the roads. The difference was they didn't worry about the expense, they worried about the safety. Did it cost more? Maybe, but you should factor that price in to your annual bid.

6 people like this post.
Tony
Übergod
 
Posts: 1046
Likes: 432 posts
Liked in: 279 posts
Joined: Aug 11th, 2005, 6:43 am

Re: Road maintenance - Letters

Postby christopher » Mar 3rd, 2018, 7:34 am

I do not know how the contractors are paid but if I was a contractor I would but all my equipment out all of the time to make the most money. I think they are told what and how much equipment to use. I agree that when the government did the roads they did a better job. The contracts need to be looked at to add more equipment and people. What is different to me is I never see a grader cutting ice just plow trucks that do a poor job of cutting ice if they have a belly plow. Blade wear is expensive then the labour to change blades and bolts plus the unit is stopped to change blades. Maybe the Government should supply blades and bolts to contractors and add in for crews to change blades and make small repairs on site.

Jflem1983 likes this post.
christopher
Fledgling
 
Posts: 294
Likes: 563 posts
Liked in: 213 posts
Joined: Jun 9th, 2016, 10:10 pm

Re: Road maintenance - Letters

Postby Hurtlander » Mar 3rd, 2018, 8:42 am

Tony wrote:From the top of the BP pass to Trail, which switches to another maintenance office, was some of the worst I had driven on this year. The company keeps their blades a solid 4-6" above the road grade. The roads were compact snow covered, not well sanded, and rough as heck. When I got to my destination, I mentioned the deplorable condition of the roads, and was informed that this has been going on for a couple of years..

I mentioned something similar to that in another thread. Argo does a good job maintaining the roads where I live, certainly during a snow storm the roads can still be bad, but Argo keeps at it until the job is eventually done. 40 minuets up the highway from my community you cross into LDM road maintenance district, LDM is essentially useless, they don’t bring out the equipment until there’s been an accident and the RCMP orders them to clear the roads.
The only effective answer to organized greed is organized labor.
--Thomas Donahue

wisdom01 likes this post.
User avatar
Hurtlander
Guru
 
Posts: 6476
Likes: 1630 posts
Liked in: 3668 posts
Joined: Jun 23rd, 2013, 10:48 am

Re: Road maintenance - Letters

Postby stuphoto » Mar 3rd, 2018, 7:17 pm

This is no excuse for poor maintenance, but I just want to point out that on the coq the other day there is a good chance that a sanding truck would have most likely also been in the wreck. If there had been one on the road.

I am sure greatful that I wasn't taking a bus full of students to the coast that day.
stuphoto
Board Meister
 
Posts: 390
Likes: 415 posts
Liked in: 233 posts
Joined: Sep 18th, 2014, 7:41 am

Re: Road maintenance - Letters

Postby Tony » Mar 4th, 2018, 7:36 am

christopher wrote:I do not know how the contractors are paid but if I was a contractor I would but all my equipment out all of the time to make the most money. I think they are told what and how much equipment to use. I agree that when the government did the roads they did a better job. The contracts need to be looked at to add more equipment and people. What is different to me is I never see a grader cutting ice just plow trucks that do a poor job of cutting ice if they have a belly plow. Blade wear is expensive then the labour to change blades and bolts plus the unit is stopped to change blades. Maybe the Government should supply blades and bolts to contractors and add in for crews to change blades and make small repairs on site.


The way the contract works is that the contractor bids a price to maintain the roads year round. If they go over their bid, I don't think they get compensated. (If I'm wrong, please let me know) Since they don't get compensated, they lose money. The more money they save by not putting the blades to the pavement, or not sending crews out on Sunday at 11:00 pm and paying overtime, the more they make, so they cut as many corners as possible to make more money.
Tony
Übergod
 
Posts: 1046
Likes: 432 posts
Liked in: 279 posts
Joined: Aug 11th, 2005, 6:43 am

Re: Road maintenance - Letters

Postby bob vernon » Mar 4th, 2018, 8:09 am

Correct. They do NOT get paid per hour that a truck is on the road. They get paid a single sum for a year which they bid on. So the incentive is to leave the trucks in the yard with the engines shut off. Actually plowing snow reduces the amount of money they keep in their pockets. That's why you can travel from Merritt to Hope in a raging snowstorm and never see a plow.

wisdom01 likes this post.
bob vernon
Grand Pooh-bah
 
Posts: 2084
Likes: 7 posts
Liked in: 1122 posts
Joined: Oct 27th, 2008, 10:37 am

Re: Road maintenance - Letters

Postby christopher » Mar 4th, 2018, 8:55 am

bob vernon wrote:Correct. They do NOT get paid per hour that a truck is on the road. They get paid a single sum for a year which they bid on. So the incentive is to leave the trucks in the yard with the engines shut off. Actually plowing snow reduces the amount of money they keep in their pockets. That's why you can travel from Merritt to Hope in a raging snowstorm and never see a plow.


Your saying they bid lump sum with no scope of work defined just clean the road I can not see a contractor are the DOT signing anything like that.
Years ago I saw a contract for this type of work The example I remember was road kill clean up they had everything from 1 kg to 1000 kg broke out. So a bird a rabbit a wolf a deer a moose all had separate pricing. The same with signs so much to clean a stop sign all the way to large overhead signs.

So I would think that the contract is tied to temperature and accumulation of snow if they are not performing than the government will have to get after them.
Last edited by christopher on Mar 4th, 2018, 9:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
christopher
Fledgling
 
Posts: 294
Likes: 563 posts
Liked in: 213 posts
Joined: Jun 9th, 2016, 10:10 pm

Re: Road maintenance - Letters

Postby seewood » Mar 4th, 2018, 9:08 am

Watching the morning news. A quick segment with the Mayor of Merritt. He mentioned on the way down to Vancouver for a meeting with provincial ministers he said he saw one truck/plow. he said he had a good meeting in laying out issues and possible solutions. On the way back to Merritt the following day he said he counted 6 plows with the blades down and a grader.... mentioned someone must have made a phone call...
I am not wealthy but I am rich

2 people like this post.
seewood
Generalissimo Postalot
 
Posts: 846
Likes: 1541 posts
Liked in: 898 posts
Joined: May 29th, 2013, 2:08 pm

Re: Road maintenance - Letters

Postby christopher » Mar 4th, 2018, 10:39 am

I could not open the BC page put in Alberta they take the average snowfall plus are minus 5% if the trucks go over the average they get 95% of what they bid. The trucks are tracked by GPS and get paid the full rate when they are out on the road.

They also get penalties for non performance starting at 5000.00 per.
They have a stand by rate for equipment and operators.
They need to have 90 % of the fleet ready at al times.
The work is monitored by a department rep.

wisdom01 likes this post.
christopher
Fledgling
 
Posts: 294
Likes: 563 posts
Liked in: 213 posts
Joined: Jun 9th, 2016, 10:10 pm

Re: Road maintenance - Letters

Postby christopher » Mar 4th, 2018, 10:49 am

I could not open the BC page put in Alberta they take the average snowfall plus are minus 5% if the trucks go over the average they get 95% of what they bid. The trucks are tracked by GPS and get paid the full rate when they are out on the road. Plow trucks are to go no more than 70 k per and pull over every 5 to 8 k.
Trucks are equipped with castor wheels on the blade to save ware surface of the road. (AND TO STOP THE OPERATOR FROM GOING THRU THE WINDOW IF HE HITS ANYTHING LIKE A MANHOLE AT 70 K)
They also get penalties for non performance starting at 5000.00 per.next one is 10000.00
They have a stand by rate for equipment and operators this is to keep workers around if its slow.
They need to have 90 % of the fleet and operators ready at all times.
The work is monitored by a department rep.He signs off for payment
I am sure BC will have the same kind of contract

wisdom01 likes this post.
christopher
Fledgling
 
Posts: 294
Likes: 563 posts
Liked in: 213 posts
Joined: Jun 9th, 2016, 10:10 pm

Re: Road maintenance - Letters

Postby wisdom01 » Mar 4th, 2018, 11:32 am

christopher wrote:
bob vernon wrote:
So I would think that the contract is tied to temperature and accumulation of snow if they are not performing than the government will have to get after them.


Herein lies the problem I believe ... not enforcing the contract ... I'm sure in a heavy snow year the contractor is continuously whining to the gov't road inspectors how they are going broke and need a break ... so, rather than plow everyone plays the "oh it's too unsafe" game and they park the trucks and wait for nicer weather.

Sure the Coq is a tough road to maintain, but it's not like it can't be done ... it's up to the gov't road inspectors to make the contractor do the job they signed the line for ... and if they underbid then too bad so sad, think about that next time.

Again I say that when the roads were maintained by the government there was substantially better maintenance and road closures were rare ... personally I'd pay the extra $1 a year in taxes to go back to having safer roads in winter that I could be confident in being open.

Hats off to the mayor of Merritt for publicly holding some political feet to the fire.

2 people like this post.
User avatar
wisdom01
 
Posts: 51
Likes: 128 posts
Liked in: 74 posts
Joined: Mar 2nd, 2018, 9:31 pm

Re: Road maintenance - Letters

Postby christopher » Mar 4th, 2018, 11:56 am

We pay lots now at the gas pump that money was always for roads etc. but now its just general revenue
christopher
Fledgling
 
Posts: 294
Likes: 563 posts
Liked in: 213 posts
Joined: Jun 9th, 2016, 10:10 pm

Next

Return to B.C.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot], DotBot and 1 guest