It’s a small number of drivers who are creating dangerous conditions on highways through B.C.’s Interior, in the fallout of November flooding, according to Erik Lachmuth, district manager with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
“I’d say for the most part that people are doing the right thing. But of course it’s the minority that aren’t doing the right thing that really stands out.”
Lachmuth was answering questions during an online presentation and media conference, organized by the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen on Friday, Dec. 10.
“At the beginning of this we wanted to make sure that goods were moving and that everything was efficient,” he said. “Now we are very much focused, also, on ensuring that people are acting safely out there, and enforcement is stepping up.”
There were five fatalities on Highway 3 and Highway 97 between Nov. 26 and Dec. 3.
Lachmuth said that since the Coquihalla closed due to flood damage, commercial traffic on the Highway 3 corridor between Hope and Princeton has doubled. There are around 1,300 commercial vehicles travelling in each direction every day, and about 78 per cent of those pass through Princeton’s downtown to Highway 5A.
Lachmuth referenced a video, widely circulated on social media, showing a transport truck passing another truck on Highway 5A near Princeton. The truck crossed a double yellow line, at a bend, and it was shared earlier this week.
“We, of course, had to have our Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement (CVSE) follow up on that, with the RCMP, because that is the kind of behaviour that we need to ensure does not happen out there.”
A similar video, again from Highway 5A, was shared to social media Friday, Dec. 10.
The area’s highway maintenance contractor, AIM Roads, has been provided with extra resources to ensure the roads are cleared and safe, he added. Tow trucks are also on standby, so that incidents can be cleared as quickly as possible.
“It’s pretty devastating for us when we have to close the corridors for long periods of time.”
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