Key SuccessesOur highways are safer than ever. Over the last five years:
- The number of fatalities has dropped by 17%
- The number of injuries has dropped by 25%
- Collisions are trending downward across the province
You can find the Horse Lake Road intersection on Highway 97 in the District of 100 Mile House. And if you look south, you’ll see Seventh Street, where the local high school is located.
This stretch of road remained largely unchanged for a long time, but over the years, as the community grew, traffic volumes gradually increased, and it became necessary to make some changes to keep things safe.
One issue we had to address was how buses were getting to the high school, because they didn’t have easy, direct access. Working together with the District of 100 Mile House, we were able to build a new intersection that made it easier to get to school and provided a lot of other community benefits as well.
It’s a little known fact, but as a ministry we look after a lot more than just transportation. In 2008, we had “infrastructure” added to our repertoire, and with that we started managing grant money for all kinds of community developments.
Together with municipal and federal governments, we’ve helped fund hundreds of projects throughout the province, including community and art centres, libraries… and ball parks.
It’s becoming a lot more common these days to see cyclists on the road, and it’s easy to see why. Cycling is a convenient, healthy and relatively inexpensive way to get around. And with more people taking to the road on their bikes, we’re doing what we can to make things better for them.
Take Highway 16 between Telkwa and Smithers for example. It’s a 15 kilometre stretch of road, which sees quite a bit of commuter traffic as people travel between the two communities. We recently finished widening and paving the shoulders of this route, giving more room to cyclists and making it safer for them and for motorists as well. And to really drive home the safety message, we’ve added new “Share The Road” signs to remind everyone that they need to look out for each other, regardless of whether they’re driving or cycling.
Run silent, run deep isn’t a phrase you’ll hear too often when we talk about highways, but we actually do spend a fair bit of time underwater. The reason isn’t too surprising, given that we live on the coast and have so many lakes, rivers and streams. We need lots of bridges and docks to get around, and their supports are often submerged. Keeping those supports standing strong is vital, so underwater inspections are an important part of our regular maintenance routine.
Highway 101 is a spectacular stretch of sea-side scenic driving. Also known as the Sunshine Coast Highway, it’s actually the last leg of the Pacific Coast Highway, one of the longest routes in the world, reaching from British Columbia to Chile (about 15,000 kilometres).
Along Highway 101’s 140 kilometres (160 if you include the ferry ride), it meanders between Langdale and Lund and connects many coastal communities. It crosses fords and inlets and offers travellers stunning views of the Coast Mountains, the Straight of Georgia and the Salish Sea.
Whether you’re travelling the busy streets of metro Vancouver or the most secluded highway, you’ll find them. Commercial truck drivers. They go where trains can’t, and deliver the goods we need to keep our communities thriving. Their loads can be huge, but do you know just how much cargo those trucks are carrying?
Safe driving on long trips means taking regular breaks to rest your mind and body. Driver fatigue is a major cause of vehicle crashes, so try to take a 15-minute break about every two hours along your journey. Stretch, move around and revive. Have something to eat or drink and really give yourself rest!
If you’re driving to Alberta across the Rocky Mountains, you have a few different routes to choose from. The Kootenay Pass on Highway 3 is one popular option. At nearly 1,800 metres, it’s also our highest. If heights aren’t your thing, there’s also the Yellowhead Pass on Highway 16, which at just over 1,000 metres, is one of the lowest routes through those precipitous peaks. It’s also where you’ll find us repairing some bin walls near Shale Hill, just a stone’s throw from Mt. Robson (provided you have a really good throwing arm, that is).
You might have seen it and thought it was “just a pile of rocks”. You’re right, it is a pile of rocks, but it is a pile of rocks with a purpose. Also known as rubble, shot rock or rock armour, we use this rock star to protect our coastlines, riverbeds, bridges and steep hills from erosion by water.
How does something as unassuming as a pile of rocks have such a big impact on erosion? When used for water erosion, rip rap absorbs and deflects the impact of water before it reaches the important stuff (i.e. bridge or a road). Simply put, when water energy is strong, the rip rap takes a hit for the team, leaving our bridges, roadways and shorelines to serve another day. The Peace River Region, which was hit hard by water erosion this year used approximately 40,000 m3 of rip rap to repair highway infrastructure damaged by flooding.
Just because Bike to Work Week is over does not mean that we have forgotten about cyclists and other types of traffic in our transit planning. Our dedication to highway safety is not limited to motorists. Cyclists and pedestrians are high on our list of important people to please.
Cyclists commuting to UBC in Kelowna will soon have safer access to their campus on a new multi-use pathway and bridge. Route enhancements will be jointly funded by the Province of B.C., the City of Kelowna and UBC, with the province contributing up to $1.55 million toward the design and construction of the pathway and bridge. The balance of funding will come from the City of Kelowna and the University of British Columbia Okanagan, who will maintain the completed work. The new pathway and bridge will be completed next year.
National Trucking Week
September 4 - 10, 2011
The postman gets a lot of credit for making his deliveries whatever the weather, but there’s a similar hero who often goes unsung. They travel our nation’s roads 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (in shifts, of course, not all at once). They deliver the freight, food and fuel we need to keep our communities flourishing. They are our truck drivers, and this is their time to be recognized.
September 4 – 10 is National Trucking Week, an event that began with the help of the Canadian Trucking Alliance back in the 1990s. It’s a time to show your gratitude to the hundreds of thousands of men and women who spend their time behind the wheel, collecting kilometres and keeping our economy moving.
Summer vacation is coming to an end, and children will be returning to school next week. While that will likely have some parents breathing a welcome sigh of relief, it also means we all need to take extra care as we drive by schools, playgrounds and bus stops.
Remember, whether you’re in a school or park zone, the speed limit is 30 km/h. School zone speed limits are in effect between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., and park zone speed limits are in effect from dawn to dusk. These slower speeds are important because they allow you more time to react should anything unexpected happen. This is always a possibility when children are walking or biking along the roadside, particularly when they get caught up in the back-to-school excitement.
Building a good transportation system is about balance.
There are a lot of trucks and cars on our roads in some parts of the province, and we need to make sure there’s room for them. But we need to balance that pressure by using the space we have as best as possible. Sometimes we all just need a little more room! It means focusing on more opportunities for public transit and encouraging other options like carpooling.
It means building projects like the new Highway 7 high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge.
Baby's Breath, Black Henbane and Giant Hogweed. No, we’re not in Harry Potter’s potion class, and we’re not casting spells. These are just some examples of the invasive plants growing along our roadsides.
We’ve talked a bit about invasive plants in a previous post, but we’re adding something new to our arsenal. Signs.
It may not look like much, but these signs (like the one in the picture) warn our maintenance contractors not to disturb the site until it can be dealt with properly. That can take time, depending on the type of plant, as we may have to wait until the spring or fall for the treatment to be effective. We don’t want the plant spreading in the meantime, and leaving the area alone is the best way to prevent that.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and Tourism BC, have designated circle routes designed to highlight some of the outstanding features of beautiful B.C. These self-guided trips let vacationers experience the attractions and adventures at their own pace.
Circle routes are part of our regular highways and roads, linked together to highlight local attractions and geography, so you don’t have to travel the same route twice. How much vacation time do you have...because there are nine scenic drives in our province ranging from two days to 14 days long.
The Cultus Creek Bridge is on the Columbia Valley Highway, about three kilometers south of Vedder Mountain Road in Chilliwack.
With a paved surface and wooden sidewalks supported by wooden piers, it’s like a lot of our other bridges throughout the province. But there are some things that set this one apart.
For one, it’s the main public access for people headed to Cultus Lake, a great area for swimming, hiking and camping.
It also crosses Sweltzer Creek an important salmon bearing stream for such species as the Cultus Lake sockeye salmon, so we’ve got to be very careful not to disturb the water or the surrounding environment when we work in the area. That can be a challenge, especially when we need to bring in crews and heavy equipment to work on and under the bridge, like we’ll be doing this fall.
11 Reasons to Make DriveBC Your
First Vacation Visit
Summer travellers, who first visit the DriveBC website, find valuable information, including routes, weather, border crossings and interesting stops. Check these features and links on DriveBC, to help you have a great holiday seeing family and friends, camping, fishing, hiking or doing whatever makes summer fun for you!
Not connected to the Internet en route?
Phone DriveBC’s 24/7 automated phone service for the latest in road conditions.The number is toll-free from anywhere in North America.
- Summer Driving Tips
- Road Conditions and Future Planned Events
- Tourist Information
- DriveBC Weather
- Distance Calculator
- Inland Ferries
- B.C. Ferries
- Peace Arch and Pacific Border Crossings
- TransLink Traffic Map
- Routes Beyond B.C
The removal of Mountain Pine Beetle-killed trees from areas along the right of way on highways and other routes is now part of our annual project regime. This year approximately 40 kilometres of roadway along Highway 16 near Smithers BC were identified as having Mountain Pine Beetle-killed trees.
Local hired equipment and hand fallers, hired to complete the work through the Ministry's day labour program target and cut down identified dead and diseased trees. Trees are removed by machine brushing, hand falling or machine falling, depending on the situation of the tree. If a tree is easy to get to, maintenance crews will work with available machinery to pull them down. However, if a tree is a little harder to reach, hand falling is required.
The small communities of Sechelt and Davis Bay are nestled along the Sunshine Coast on Highway 101. The fair weather and beautiful scenery along this route encourage many residents and tourists to travel by bicycle.
To support that interest, we have recently widened a popular portion of the highway to allow cyclists to commute in safety, while sharing the road with motorists. As an added bonus, the wider shoulders benefit transit users too, making it easier for them to walk along the road to catch the bus.
Now that Summer is here, you may be itching to rush to the lake and enjoy the weather, but not so fast. Summer time is also time to respect our slow moving farm vehicles.
A farm vehicle is a commercial vehicle, subject to many of the same rules as typical carriers. Slow moving farm vehicles normally travel on the highway at a speed of 40 km/h or less and are subject to specific restrictions, like travelling through high traffic tunnels or along major highways.
You hear a lot about how we’re trying to make the roads safer for people. But what about animals? Well, it turns out we’re doing a lot there, too. It’s a challenge, but it’s one we take seriously, and we work with university professors, wildlife biologists and other industry leaders to come up with new ideas. Like fencing off mineral licks, for example.
These licks are just areas in the soil that have high levels of minerals like sodium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and zinc, and animals use them to help build springtime bone, muscle and other growth. Dirt. Just another part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Highway 14 (known locally and colloquially as the Sookahalla), has seen a lot of work lately. The road connects Victoria with Sooke and many communities along the Island’s west coast. These areas have really been growing in popularity, with the inevitable result – more traffic.
And by traffic, we don’t mean just vehicles. The number of pedestrians and cyclists using the road is growing, too. To make things safer for them, a major focus of our efforts has been to widen the road’s shoulders. Widening the road also has other benefits, like making oncoming traffic easier to see, and giving us a chance to make better transit pullouts so buses can pull off the road completely to let other traffic by.
We all know that riding your bike is a good thing. It helps your health, your pocket book and the environment. So, what stops you from choosing your bike on a daily basis? Some of you may say it’s the weather, while others may say it’s the challenge of commuting with cars. A recent grant from The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s Bike BC Cycling Infrastructure Partnerships Program – has helped the District of North Vancouver to install a buffered cyclist lane along the busy West 1st Street route (one of the most popular cycling corridors in the District); giving you one more reason to get out there and enjoy your commute from the seat of your bike.
What do you think is important about highway services? Hold that thought and complete our 9th Annual Customer Satisfaction Survey. The survey is extended until August 12th, so you still have time. Help us create the future of highway safety in the province by telling us your opinion of our services this year.
Our Customer Satisfaction Survey is sent directly to all of the people that we have worked with over the past year, and asks for feedback on their personal experience with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s staff and services. Some examples of services the ministry provides are: Highway Signage, Winter Highway Road Maintenance, Pavement Line Marking and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement. The survey takes ten minutes online but, if you cannot take the electronic survey, our district staff can also conduct the survey in person. If you are interested in completing the survey in person, contact your district office to make arrangements. You can also access the survey here, or on other ministry websites like DriveBC.