The ABCs of Winter Highway Classification and Maintenance

winter maintenance snow plow
Want to go for a snow plow ride along? Click on image.

Our maintenance contractors work hard every day to keep BC highways safe and traffic moving smoothly. Because British Columbia is a geographically diverse province, our contractors can face any number of unique challenges where highway maintenance is concerned, especially in winter.

In order to make sure they understand exactly what is expected of them in their day to day operations, we outline our maintenance requirements in detail. Part of that detail involves classifying provincial highways. With that in mind, here’s the lowdown on winter highway classification in B.C. and what that means to you.

B.C. Highways are classified A, B, C, D & E and are maintained in that order.

Winter highway classifications are based on traffic volumes and function. As are the first priority; followed by Bs and Cs… you get the idea. A great example of an “A” is the Trans-Canada Highway. Highway 28, the Gold River Highway is a great example of a main highway or “B”. “C” routes are other roads that are neither A nor B, but could be required to get those kiddies back to school and the like. “D” and “E” are the roads generally less travelled.

If a route becomes more popular or sees an increase in commercial traffic, we may upgrade its classification and increase highway operations on that route, as we recently did on Highway 16. It’s all about safety. Changes like this mean can an increase in the maintenance commitment, resulting in more frequent patrols and quicker response times, and more plowing, snow removal, and salt and sand applications.

Here are some examples of the standards against which our contractors measure their work:

Maximum Allowable Accumulation:
Basically this is the maximum amount of snow allowed to accumulate before our contractors are required to plow. A highway with an “A” classification is allowed up to 4 cm before it must be plowed, while an “E” is allowed up to 25 cm.

Completion of Snow Removal:
The following table shows the allowable number of hours between the end of the last measurable snowfall and the completion of snow removal operations on the highway. In other words, this is how long we allow the remaining snow to sit on the road after a storm.

Graph showing contract requirement

During storms, our maintenance contractors put all of their equipment into action to make sure that our highways remain safe. Our contractors also continuously update road conditions on DriveBC, helping you know before you go. After a storm, they review their performance in order to provide the best service possible in the next bout of nasty weather.

What questions about winter highway maintenance or highway classification do you have? Let us know in the comments below, or connect with us on Twitter or Facebook. We look forward to talking with you.

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83 comments on “The ABCs of Winter Highway Classification and Maintenance”

Leave a Comment

  1. Hi
    I’m Jorgen Christensen
    I would like to know what classification Pinchi Lake rd and Germansen Landing rd is?
    Thanks Jorgen.

    Reply
    • Good morning Jorgen!

      The summer classification for Pinchi Lake Road is a 6 and the summer classification for Germansen Landing Road is a 5. Hope that this is helpful!

      Reply
  2. This leaves people who live along rural roads in potentially hazardous situations. If people live along a route I assume the road is C and 48 hours to clear the road is MUCH TOO LONG. All roads should be cleared within 24 hours of a snowfall.

    Reply
  3. The crew that takes care of Highway 97 from McKenzie junction to Honeymoon creek is lacking the understanding of what a Class “A” highway is. Please forward there management the agreement of what they have been contracted to do. A lot of corners on the highway are not plowed completely and forces oncoming traffic across the yellow line. Unacceptable!

    Reply
    • Hello Ryan,

      Thanks for connecting with us here to share your concerns.
      We shared your comment with our staff in the area for review and they let us know that they monitor the highway on a consistent basis and work closely with the maintenance contractor to address issues as they are identified.

      Reply
  4. Have you heard of Vancouver Island? Quite a few folk out here could do with a plow! Highway 19 A I’m fairly sure would-be an A or B category. .. doesn’t look very plowed to me! Comox / Campbell River area.

    Reply
    • Hi Anonymous –

      Thank you for your message. We too live on Vancouver Island and have shared your concern with our local area manager.
      As you know, due to recent significant snow events our crews are busy out there trying to clear it all. We appreciate your patience and thank you again for letting us know your concerns.

      Reply
  5. Hi am responding to Ann’s comment and your response. So according to these documents, highway #1 is a class A. It is the highest priority.
    How can you possibly believe this? The road conditions have been appalling for the last 2 days!! We all knew the snow was coming. The #1 didn’t looked plowed at all this morning!
    Honestly we pay Mainland millions of dollars for this contract. Why when we really need them are they nowhere to be seen!?
    The #1 should be salted and plowed. Just keep going back and forth all day!! Then you wouldn’t have to take a video from an overpass to prove your “convoy” of trucks were there, wed be able to tell by the road conditions!
    Honestly, Mainland should be fired. Absolutely failed everyone who drives the #1 Hwy.
    Time for the province to get quotes from other contractors for this job!

    Reply
    • Hi Megan – thanks for your message. We completely understand your concern and have shared it directly with our staff responsible for overseeing our maintenance contractors performance.

      Reply
  6. I am wondering who is maintaining or cleaning the snow in highway 1? We passed 5am and again at 5pm but the road still the same. We are expecting that the road is already cleaned up by this time but still not…so sad..

    Reply
    • Hi Ann,

      Thanks for your message – we understand your concern. Since Thursday night, the ministry’s maintenance contractors in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley have been out in full force, day and night, plowing roads and applying salt, brine and winter abrasives as required. During periods of cold temperatures, the straight application of salt may not be effective, and sometimes maintenance contractors need to apply salt mixed with sand to improve traction to areas where snow may have compacted.

      In the Fraser Valley, the high outflow winds combined with cold and dry temperatures (- 12 this morning) are making it challenging to keep material on the road and deal with the snow that has compacted onto the road. The ministry’s maintenance contractor for this service area had their entire fleet out working this morning, and will continue to do so throughout the day as well as overnight. West of Chilliwack, areas requiring further attention by the maintenance contractor persisted into this morning. Because the colder temperatures limited the effectiveness of applying salt, crews transitioned to applying sand in combination with using serrated blades to rake the compacted snow to improve traction. The contractor has also been using deicing chemicals better suited for the colder temperatures in addition to an increased use of abrasives and the serrated blades. Our maintenance contractor in the Fraser Valley alone has used 600t of salt, 200m3 of brine and approximately 6,000m3 of sand – enough to fill more than two Olympic size swimming pools. The use of abrasives and calcium in the last 48 hours has also already surpassed what was used since winter conditions arrived in the Lower Mainland in these past few weeks. They deploy a fleet of 40 plow trucks and 5 graders to meet the conditions.

      We advise travellers to expect winter conditions for the rest of the week, and encourage everyone to plan ahead and drive according to the weather and road conditions, slowing down when there’s bad weather or limited visibility.

      Reply
    • Mainroad Contracting dropped the ball on Hwy one Jan.13, the highway east & west of the Port Mann including the bridge was an absolute disaster, I spent over 2 hours to get from 200 street to the west side of the bridge, I saw not a single plow/salt/sanding truck in either direction during this time, 6:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.

      Reply
  7. Hi. What is the protocol for applying a classification letter to a road? Where does one find the criteria determined to do so – and how do we go about getting the class changed. We used to get quite good service from the local contractor Argo in the winter. Now with the new contractor AIM Roads, we have to call every single time there is snow to request service. I had been advised by one of the Argo employees that the roads in our area were being re-classified and so they would be able to give us better service than before. Unfortunately this is not the case after all. So disappointing.

    Reply
  8. We live in a subdivision of 30 homes at the end of a class D road. This is the only road in and out of our subdivisiion for residents and emergency services. The road we live off of is Aaron Road in Castlegar BC and it is very steep (10% in spots) but not very long maybe 1 km. There are days that residents can’t get home do the depth of the snow or how slippery the hill is due to it’s steepness. I worry that an ambulance may not be able to make it up the hill one day when it’s needed. Is it possible to get a road designation upgraded due to circumstances such as these? Columbia Road that we turn off of to get on to Aaron Road is a class C, is it possible to apply to have our road redesignated as class c due to this situation? Who would we talk to or how would we apply?

    Best Regards

    Reply
    • Hi Andy – thanks for your comment. Please connect directly with our staff at the local area office in Nelson.

      310 Ward Street, 4th floor
      Nelson, BC V1L 5S4
      Telephone: 250 354-6400
      Fax: 250 354-6547

      Reply
  9. Good morning! I’m about to contact the local contractor for road maintenance, but came across this site while searching for contact information… my question is:
    Is the contractor responsible for plowing to the end of the public road right of way? The plow tends to stop short of the end of the r/w and before my driveway. I assume this is because it is easier for them, but it makes it harder for me… Just wondering what the standard/protocol might be in this case. The road I live on is a “Class D” winter maintenance road, so we are most definitely not regularly visited (understandably).

    Reply
    • Hi there Marie,

      If you know who your local maintenance contractor is, we suggest contacting them directly. If you would like us to look into something further, let us know where you are located.

      Thanks!

      Reply
  10. This post has been shared a lot recently on social media in the Okanagan. While it provides good information on road maintenance classification, the completion of snow removal is no longer in the current contracts. Will this post be updated to reflect the new specifications?

    Reply
  11. First I would like to say your company and team is doing an outstanding job! Bravo. Tell me where McCulloch Rd falls in the classifications please. Is it still A because of being an egress to Kelowna SE and back up to Hwy33

    Reply
    • Hi there George! Thanks for your question. We can’t find McCullock Road on our map – only Hydraulic Lake Road. Is this the same? You can search winter classification using the iMapBC app. We’ve listed instructions below. Hope that this is helpful.

      Here’s how you can search up the winter classification of our routes:

      1. Navigate to iMapBC at https://maps.gov.bc.ca/ess/hm/imap4m/
      2. Select the “Data Sources” tab
      3. Choose “Add Provincial Layers” button. A pop-up screen will appear asking you to add or remove information. Scroll down to and select “Transportation”
      4. Scroll to “Ministry of Transportation – Linear Inventory” and choose/select
      5. Scroll to “Road Maintenance Class Winter – MoT” and choose/select
      6. Click Okay to close pop up screen.
      7. Underneath the Data Sources tab, you will see a “My Layers” button. Select this tab.
      8. “Road Maintenance Class Winter – MoT” should appear with a check mark in the box beside it.
      9. To the right of this check mark is a small bullet list icon. Click/select this icon and the legend of Winter Classification letters, corresponding colours and details should appear underneath the layer title.
      10. Zoom into the area you are looking for on the map to the right to view the colour for your desired roadway
      11. Hint: you might have to scroll down to a very high level in order to see corresponding colour.
      If you do not see a colour revealed on a roadway, that road does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and you should follow up with the municipality for more information.

      Here’s a list of what each letter on the legend represents:

      A. “WADC>5,000” = Weekly Average Daily Traffic Count greater than 5,000
      Highway Classification Class Definition A – high volume traffic (over 5,000 winter average daily traffic count) or commuter routes and certain expressways and freeways through mountain passes. For the purposes of Classification, a freeway is a multi-lane highway with fully controlled access. Class A are heavy commuter traffic routes extended to include the bulk of vehicles commuting daily to a center and cut-off where traffic drops below a 2,500 winter average daily traffic count. These include, but are not limited to, high volume ski hill and commuter routes;

      B. “WADC 1,000 to 5,000” = Weekly Average Daily Traffic Count between 1,000 to 5,000
      Highway Classification Class Definition B – trunk and main routes (or portion thereof as designated by the Province) not included in Class A, with a cut-off traffic volume of 1,000 winter average daily traffic count. These include but are not limited to lower volume ski hill and commuter routes;

      C. “SBR and TTR” = School Bus Route and Industrial (Truck) Traffic
      Highway Classification Class Definition C – school bus routes and industrial (truck) traffic routes (more than 25% trucks) not included in Class A and B;

      D. “Other regular”
      Highway Classification Class Definition D – other regularly maintained winter routes;

      E. “Other irregular”
      Highway Classification Class Definition E – other irregularly maintained winter routes;

      F. “No Winter Maintenance”
      Highway Classification Class Definition F – roads not maintained or not open in the winter, or not maintained by the Contractor.

      Reply
    • Hi there Tammy – a Class A highway is not allowed to have more than 4 cm of snow in the travelling lane and notwithstanding that clause, our contractors are required remove winter accumulations from travelled lanes every 90 minutes. Make sense?

      Reply
  12. Hi there,

    I live in China valley and the new contractor is doing a terrible job. When they graded our road in the summer they didn’t go as deep as the potholes so it lasted about a day before it was bad again. Now we had 9 inches of snow and the roads were left for days, this includes right in Falkland. The service has really dropped off and there is no way they are upholding their contract. How do I get more information about what to expect for my road maintenance. We live on a school bus route

    Reply
    • Hi Kyle – we did a quick search for China Valley to find your exact location but could only find China Valley Road east of Pritchard. Is that correct?

      Reply
    • Hi Scott,

      We encourage you to find the winter classification of the road you live on by visiting iMapBC at https://maps.gov.bc.ca/ess/hm/imap4m/

      1. Select the “Data Sources” tab
      2. Choose “Add Provincial Layers” button. A pop-up screen will appear asking you to add or remove information. Scroll down to and select “Transportation”
      3. Scroll to “Ministry of Transportation – Linear Inventory” and choose/select
      4. Scroll to “Road Maintenance Class Winter – MoT” and choose/select
      5. Click Okay to close pop up screen.
      6. Underneath the Data Sources tab, you will see a “My Layers” button. Select this tab.
      7. “Road Maintenance Class Winter – MoT” should appear with a check mark in the box beside it.
      8. To the right of this check mark is a small bullet list icon. Click/select this icon and the legend of Winter Classification letters, corresponding colours and details should appear underneath the layer title.
      9. Zoom into the area you are looking for on the map to the right to view the colour for your desired roadway
      10. Hint: you might have to scroll down to a very high level in order to see corresponding colour.
      If you do not see a colour revealed on a roadway, that road does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and you should follow up with the municipality for more information.

      Here’s a list of what each letter on the legend represents:

      A. “WADC>5,000” = Weekly Average Daily Traffic Count greater than 5,000
      Highway Classification Class Definition A – high volume traffic (over 5,000 winter average daily traffic count) or commuter routes and certain expressways and freeways through mountain passes. For the purposes of Classification, a freeway is a multi-lane highway with fully controlled access. Class A are heavy commuter traffic routes extended to include the bulk of vehicles commuting daily to a center and cut-off where traffic drops below a 2,500 winter average daily traffic count. These include, but are not limited to, high volume ski hill and commuter routes;

      B. “WADC 1,000 to 5,000” = Weekly Average Daily Traffic Count between 1,000 to 5,000
      Highway Classification Class Definition B – trunk and main routes (or portion thereof as designated by the Province) not included in Class A, with a cut-off traffic volume of 1,000 winter average daily traffic count. These include but are not limited to lower volume ski hill and commuter routes;

      C. “SBR and TTR” = School Bus Route and Industrial (Truck) Traffic
      Highway Classification Class Definition C – school bus routes and industrial (truck) traffic routes (more than 25% trucks) not included in Class A and B;

      D. “Other regular”
      Highway Classification Class Definition D – other regularly maintained winter routes;

      E. “Other irregular”
      Highway Classification Class Definition E – other irregularly maintained winter routes;

      F. “No Winter Maintenance”
      Highway Classification Class Definition F – roads not maintained or not open in the winter, or not maintained by the Contractor.

      Reply
  13. Can you please tell me the classification for Westside rdVernon BC.
    Can you tell me why the previous road maintenance crew many years ago (Watson’s) were required to have roads cleared before school buses came down the road, so before 7 am but now we are lucky if you see a snow plough or grader before noon. What good is that for the parents driving kids to bus stops, school buses or tax paying citizens trying to get to work. Please help me to understand, I am sure you do not want to hear people constantly putting in complaints or waiting for accidents to happen before the roads are dealt with.

    Reply
    • Hi Heather – thanks for your message. Westside Road is a Class C road. We are including a link to our Maintenance Contractor specifications, which outlines the details our contractors must adhere to during winter maintenance operations. If you have particular questions – we encourage you to connect with the maintenance contractor directly and express your concerns. Here’s their contact info:
      Acciona Infrastructure Maintenance
      (866) 222-4204
      info@acciona.ca

      Reply
  14. Is highway 97 between vernon and Lake country consider classification A due to the amount of daily traffic and commuters on it and the snowfall during the winter ?

    Reply
    • Hi Tom! Highway 6 at Lumby is a Class A highway.

      Here’s how you can search up the winter classification of our routes:

      1. Navigate to iMapBC at https://maps.gov.bc.ca/ess/hm/imap4m/
      2. Select the “Data Sources” tab
      3. Choose “Add Provincial Layers” button. A pop-up screen will appear asking you to add or remove information. Scroll down to and select “Transportation”
      4. Scroll to “Ministry of Transportation – Linear Inventory” and choose/select
      5. Scroll to “Road Maintenance Class Winter – MoT” and choose/select
      6. Click Okay to close pop up screen.
      7. Underneath the Data Sources tab, you will see a “My Layers” button. Select this tab.
      8. “Road Maintenance Class Winter – MoT” should appear with a check mark in the box beside it.
      9. To the right of this check mark is a small bullet list icon. Click/select this icon and the legend of Winter Classification letters, corresponding colours and details should appear underneath the layer title.
      10. Zoom into the area you are looking for on the map to the right to view the colour for your desired roadway
      11. Hint: you might have to scroll down to a very high level in order to see corresponding colour.
      If you do not see a colour revealed on a roadway, that road does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and you should follow up with the municipality for more information.

      Here’s a list of what each letter on the legend represents:

      A. “WADC>5,000” = Weekly Average Daily Traffic Count greater than 5,000
      Highway Classification Class Definition A – high volume traffic (over 5,000 winter average daily traffic count) or commuter routes and certain expressways and freeways through mountain passes. For the purposes of Classification, a freeway is a multi-lane highway with fully controlled access. Class A are heavy commuter traffic routes extended to include the bulk of vehicles commuting daily to a center and cut-off where traffic drops below a 2,500 winter average daily traffic count. These include, but are not limited to, high volume ski hill and commuter routes;

      B. “WADC 1,000 to 5,000” = Weekly Average Daily Traffic Count between 1,000 to 5,000
      Highway Classification Class Definition B – trunk and main routes (or portion thereof as designated by the Province) not included in Class A, with a cut-off traffic volume of 1,000 winter average daily traffic count. These include but are not limited to lower volume ski hill and commuter routes;

      C. “SBR and TTR” = School Bus Route and Industrial (Truck) Traffic
      Highway Classification Class Definition C – school bus routes and industrial (truck) traffic routes (more than 25% trucks) not included in Class A and B;

      D. “Other regular”
      Highway Classification Class Definition D – other regularly maintained winter routes;

      E. “Other irregular”
      Highway Classification Class Definition E – other irregularly maintained winter routes;

      F. “No Winter Maintenance”
      Highway Classification Class Definition F – roads not maintained or not open in the winter, or not maintained by the Contractor.

      Reply
  15. I am writing to determine what, if any, restrictions are placed on maintenance contractors with regard to performing private maintenance. This past week I witnessed a contractor’s grader servicing a privately owned road following remediation of deep ruts and washed out shoulders on a short section of the public road. This despite the fact that the public portion of the road the publicly maintained gravel road has not been completely graded in a couple months and is in a sad state (potholes, washboard, and areas of water erosion from recent heavy rain). Can you advise me if there are limitations or priorities with regard to what the contractor must address in maintaining public thoroughfares?

    Reply
        • Hi Stan,

          Depending on road conditions, the road is graded once a year. As for private grading, as they are a private company, they are able to pick up extra work but they are still bound to response times on public road through the highway maintenance agreement. Our local area staff spoke with YRB and they said they have not signed on for any additional private grader work in that area as they generally aren’t very lucrative jobs. We hope that this helps answer your questions – let us know if you need any further information!

          Reply
    • Good afternoon Jeannette,

      Our local staff in the Smithers office just informed us that Hudson Bay Mountain Rd was changed to a winter maintenance class B in 1983.
      At that time, the road was made up of Dahlie Road, Hudson Bay Mountain Road, and Prairie Road.
      Note: Prairie Road (at class B as well in 1983) was renamed & combined with Hudson Bay Mountain Road in 1998.

      We hope that this is helpful information to you. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to let us know.

      Reply
  16. Where can I find the classification (for road maintenance purposes, winter and summer) for the Rossland-Cascade Hwy, Rossland, BC. (gravel road)
    Thank you.

    Reply
  17. Hi,

    I am trying to find definitions for road classifications.

    What exactly is a class 6e and class 8f road? Is there a link you can provide that will take me to a document that will define those terms? Are these roads available for public use?

    Thanks in advance for your assistance

    Regards,

    Mark

    Reply
    • Hi Mark. Here is our Highway Classification webpage: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/transportation-infrastructure/transportation-planning/highway-classification

      Essentially, the number refers to summer and the letter to winter. The 8F means unopened unmaintained, although there are some caveats to that such as danger tree removal on an 8F if there are pathways etc.

      Highway Classification

      Class Definition
      A high volume traffic (over 5,000 winter average daily traffic count) or
      commuter routes and certain expressways and freeways through mountain
      passes. For the purposes of Classification, a freeway is a multi-lane
      highway with fully controlled access. Class A are heavy commuter traffic
      routes extended to include the bulk of vehicles commuting daily to a center
      and cut-off where traffic drops below a 2,500 winter average daily traffic
      count. These include, but are not limited to, high volume ski hill and
      commuter routes;
      B trunk and main routes (or portion thereof as designated by the Province)
      not included in Class A, with a cut-off traffic volume of 1,000 winter
      average daily traffic count. These include but are not limited to lower
      volume ski hill and commuter routes;
      C school bus routes and industrial (truck) traffic routes (more than 25%
      trucks) not included in Class A and B;
      D other regularly maintained winter routes;
      E other irregularly maintained winter routes; and
      F roads not maintained or not open in the winter, or not maintained by the
      Contractor.

      Maintenance only applies to road 1 – 7

      Response by Highway Classification
      1&2 3 4 5 6&7
      60 min 90 min 2 h 3 h 4 h

      Reply
  18. gillminator@hotmail.com

    My fence is 34 feet from the center of the roadway here in Blue River and has been busted and fallen over 3 years in a row now due to negligent snow clearing practices by LDM (pushing snow buildups against my fence with a grader and loader. They claim there is nowhere to put soooo much snow. Seriously? So that allows you to push snow onto private property and damage residential infrastructure because you dont know where to put or how to move the snow? There is an open acessible field directly across the road. Im tired of this happening every year. Who do i call to get my fence fixed by LDM or their insurers?

    Reply
    • Hello again Ronald – our local area staff have confirmed that they were in contact with the maintenance contractor regarding your concern and confirmed that the issue has been dealt with. If you have any other questions or concerns, feel free to contact Lucille.Green@gov.bc.ca.

      Reply
  19. we as taxpayers pay for these contracts and if the road classifications do not fit the needs of the school bus route there needs to be a away to change the classification as a ministry we always gave these school bus routes safety priority and as a retired highways worker 35 years i get a little concerned when we see school bus units off the highway these metal container contain our children the future people in this province and the ministry and contractor must rethink these standards and pay more attention to school bus routes as was done prior to privatization and profits were not ahead of pupil safety

    Reply
  20. Hi…I am looking for more detailed information about BC’s winter hwy classification system. Can you provide me with a link to more specific details, AADT or WADT thresholds, classification of road, etc. Thanks Mike

    Reply
    • Hello Marie,

      Thank you for connecting with us here. We were able to locate two rules governing the safe operation of snowplows on BC highways specifically:

      1. Section 121 of the BC MVA
      Construction and maintenance vehicles
      121 Despite section 120 (b), the driver of a vehicle referred to in that section must drive with due regard for safety, having regard to all the circumstances, including the nature, condition and use of the highway and the amount of traffic that is, or might reasonably be expected to be, on it.

      2. Schedule 15 of the Highway Maintenance Agreement (Commercial Vehicles Permit)

      I hope that this helps answer your question. Please let us know if you have any further questions.

      Reply
  21. Hi I’m looking for a document “Maintenance Services Manual: Standards for Road and Bridge Maintenance Services”. Does this still exist or has it been replaced by another name/manual?
    I’m drafting up a tender for Winter Maintenance and want to include the requirements from the manual.

    Reply
  22. I just wanna say that there is a huge debate going on in the east kootenays. See facebook page taking back east kootenay highways. And they are trying to remove main roads from their contract. Most i would say never grew up in the valley or lived here long. I really found this information helpful but still most people on that page expect bare roads immediately after a storm and do not understand the challenges that are faced on the road. Press releases like this help for sure. But i think some need to be informed on the processes a bit more.
    And can i ask why there are minstry trucks(yellow trucks with yellow flashing lights) on class c or d roads before they are plowed… one almost drove me off the road before Christmas.

    Reply
    • Hi Sarrah,

      Thanks for connecting with us here. We are aware of the debate around maintenance in the East Kootenay area. We continue to try to share condition information, contract requirements etc. on a regular basis, both on the page itself and through our other channels. Our area managers regularly patrol all classifications of highway on a regular basis to make sure the roads are being maintained properly. Would you like us to connect with the area office to share your incident?

      Reply
  23. Is there a list of what highways have what classification? I’ve heard several complaints about Highway 5 between Kamloops and Tete Jaune Cache over the years and was wondering what its designation was.

    Reply
      • Bit of an elaboration as I too have heard of similar complaints, as well as experiencing, directly and indirectly, what seems to be less than the stipulated level of snow plowing. I’ve also sent an e-mail, 2 weeks ago, and, more recently, 2 voice-mail messages to Ian Pilkington, the “Director, Rehabilitation and Maintenance” for the Ministry asking for information on the associated contracts – no responses yet.

        However, I have found this document (1) specifies the criteria for the A-F designations largely in terms of the traffic volume, although it is somewhat vague when it comes to direction. And the Traffic Data Program (2) – quite impressive, I might add – gives some indication that Highway 5 qualifies as classification A.

        —–
        1) “_http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/BCHighways/contracts/maintenance/Schedule_21_Maintenance_Specifications.pdf”;
        2) “_http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/trafficdata/index.html”;

        Reply
        • Hi Jim,
          Thanks for your comments and feedback. I also spoke with Ian who will be in touch very soon. He apologizes that it has taken so long.

          Reply
          • tranbceditor:

            My pleasure – nice that the Ministry maintains a blog for dissemminating information and handling complaints. 🙂

            And thank you for jogging Mr. Pilkington’s memory; I expect he has a lot on his plate, and my questions were hardly earth-shatteringly important ones. And he did respond shortly after your comment with some additional information on maintenance contracts that I hadn’t been able to find so that was most appreciated. And I just recently and quite belatedly sent him an e-mail thanking him for that information.

            However, as I had indicated in that e-mail, it seems that while the BCHighways Department has an impressive set of specifications and procedures that the maintenance contractors are obliged to maintain and follow, it seems there is a missing link in that the Highways Department may not be monitoring some or all of those contractors sufficiently often enough or in sufficient detail to ensure compliance. As the comment of “Frank Fugger” above suggests may be the case with the Coquihalla. Although your later response to “Sarrah Keays” suggests that there are “Area Managers” who provide that missing link, that “closing of the feedback loop”.

            However, I’m wondering whether or not the results of that monitoring are available on the BCHighways site, and if they’re not then whether they could be. Apparently a somewhat famous jurist said that “Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done.” Which one might reasonably extend to questions of compliance by the contractors hired by the Department to maintain our highways, particularly during the winter.

            So, since it seems you may have the ear of those in the upper echelons of the Department, I’m wondering whether there might be some value in broaching the question of compliance monitoring and, if that system is already in place, of providing public access to the results of it.

            In any case, thank you again for your efforts and information – and my apology for a belated response.

    • Thanks for your question! We do have information available on the Data BC website.

      The website does have information about maintenance class but it is not within a service area, rather it splits the Province into Regional and District boundaries which don’t necessarily coincide with the service area boundaries. I’ve provided some information below on how to access the website, what information (called “layers”) can be viewed and how to download information so you can see if it’s helpful.

      Here are the steps to data on the GeoBC Warehouse – Open Data
      http://www.data.gov.bc.ca
      In the Search for Data box, type in MoT (not case sensitive) and click the Search button
      Click the word SHP on the desired layer to bring up more information regarding the selection
      Click the word SHP under the Download Files to bring up the Data Distribution Service form
      Fill in all of the appropriate information Area of Interest, Projection, Format, etc on the form to order the layer
      Click the Submit Order button

      CHRIS has 2 Boundary layers, 2 Network layers and 16 Inventory layers on Open Data
      MoT Regional Boundary
      MoT District Boundary
      RFI Network
      LKI Network
      BSR – Bridge Structure Road
      CULV – Culverts
      DA – Drainage Appliance
      GR – Guardrail
      HP – Highway Profile
      HRP – Highway Reference Point
      LSF – Linear Safety Feature
      MC – Maintenance Class
      RA – Rest Area
      RRX – Railroad Crossing
      RW – Retaining Wall
      SF – Safety Feature
      SIGN – Sign
      SL – Special Lane Profile
      SS – Storm Sewer
      SURF – Surface Type

      How to download information from the website:

      Go to the DataBC Catalogue @ http://www.data.gov.bc.ca/dbc/catalogue/index.page?keywords=site:apps.gov.bc.ca&config=dbc&rc=1&size=25&sortid=4&WT.svl=Topnav

      In the search box, type ‘MOT’ and hit enter. A list of search results will appear.

      Find the data you are looking for, expand the details, and click on the “Click here for More Info” link.

      The new page that opens will have a “Download Data” button if the data is freely downloadable by the public. Click on that button.

      On the new window that opens, customize your “data order to your needs” and click submit. The following graphic details the important fields.

      Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

      Reply
  24. Thank you, I found this information answered some of my questions. I offer a comment in regard to the statement: ” During storms, our maintenance contractors put all of their equipment into action —.” We know from numerous first-hand experiences and interviewing truck drivers that contractors rarely use “all of their equipment”. On at least a dozen occasions Highway 5 between Kamloops and Hope has had six to 10 cms of snow and we have seen one only or two or sometimes three plows. Once we saw three plows and one grader. On one occasion with approximately 10 cms of fresh snow on the highway, and more falling, one plow was plowing downhill near the snow shed and two others were plowing the side roads by the lakes. What a mess for us and the truckers.
    In our area at Adams Lake, in 2010 we went without any plowing for three days because the contractor could not find any drivers.
    And there is one of the root problems of your contracts— PART-TIME drivers. Few if any drivers are full-time so they must have other jobs to make enough money to live. When it snows many are already at their other jobs. The second difficulty is the fixed minimum payout the contractors receive. They make more money if they don’t plow!!! They save labour, operating and maintenance expenses.
    I have had excellent cooperation from the BC Highways staff in our area. As soon as they are notified of a problem (signage on Holding Road, untreated road conditions) they have responded promptly. Great work!
    If you are able please pass this email on to senior management and to the Minister’s office.

    Reply
  25. Bonjour,

    I am working in road winter maintenance for the Ministry of Transportation of Qubec (MTQ).

    Is that possible to get from your miistry a copy (hard or electronic copy)of British colombia Maintenance Manual. My interest is on quality standard and maintenance best practices in road winter operations.

    Reply