FILE — Snow-clearing equipment in action.

FILE — Snow-clearing equipment in action.

Letter: Clearing misconceptions on snow clearing

The recent letters regarding winter road maintenance contain several misconceptions.

The recent letters from Howard and Forester regarding winter road maintenance contain several misconceptions.

The first misconception is the much rumoured “black pavement status.” This myth has been around for decades yet nothing in legislation, regulation, policy or procedure states or implies this requirement. While some may have observed this in the past this was more a function of a mild winter and an overzealous Road Forman rather than a requirement. Although bare pavement is a desirable state during winter, requiring it of government employees or contractor employees, is simply unobtainable during most of the winter in our area.

The other misconception is regarding the ISO9000 Standard as it relates to road maintenance. This standard was issued by its creator; The Organization of Standardization. It was created to establish an international standardized approach to Quality Management Systems. It specifically relates to how organizations create a Quality Management System that can track actual accomplishments against set standards. In the case of Road and Bridge Maintenance, the contractors have Quality Management Systems, Quality Manager position(s) and track compliance with MOTI set standards for Road maintenance. The MOTI in addition to auditing road conditions in the field also audits the records within the contractors Quality Management System for compliance.

We have to remember that MOTI and contractor employees plus their families and their friends all drive on our roads. Everyone involved in the process is focussed on safety. In regard to vehicle accidents, there are multiple factors that can come into play including driver inattention, weather, other vehicles, road conditions, driver impairment, passengers, speed and vehicle condition. Driving is a full-time job and yet most people don’t approach it that way. You can see this every day by the simple lack of using their turn signals.

The bottom line is that both the Maintenance Contractor and MOTI are fully invested in the safety of the motoring public but sometimes Mother Nature has a different idea. At that point, we all need to adjust our behaviour behind the wheel accordingly.

I worked for MOTI for 36 years throughout the Province with the last eight years as the Operations Manager for the West Kootenay and Boundary areas which encompasses Highway 3 from Yahk to Rock Creek and interconnected highways. Our area is no different from other areas in the province that experience winter driving conditions.

Fred Hughes

Castlegar