A new road maintenance company will be looking after the Okanagan Connector in 2019.
Argo Road Maintenance Inc. is the existing contractor for the South Okanagan as the current agreement runs until April 30, 2019. The new contract for this area has been awarded to Acciona Infrastructure Maintenance Inc. from Spain through an open bidding process. This agreement begins on May 1, 2019, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Transportation.
Acciona will maintain the portion of the Okanagan Connector (Highway 97C) from Peachland to the Pennask Summit that Argo is currently maintaining.
Twenty six of the 28 maintenance contracts in the province are being tendered and awarded in 2018 and 2019 through an open bidding process. The new maintenance contract requires even higher standards and a more proactive approach when a winter weather event occurs, the statement said.
Improvements to the contract include:
* Increased communication with the public about rapidly changing road conditions during severe weather events and other incidents affecting travel on B.C. roads.
* Return Class A highways to bare pavement within 24 hours of a winter weather event ending at pavement temperatures of -9 C or warmer, when de-icing chemical use is safe and effective. The previous standard was 48 hours.
* Increase patrol frequency to 90 minutes on a Class A highway, like the Coquihalla, during a winter storm. The previous standard was four hours.
* When a weather event is forecasted to occur, increase the patrol frequency to four hours. The previous standard was 24 hours.