The B.C. transportation ministry issued a non-conformance report to Acciona Infrastructure Maintenance Inc. on May 24, after the new highway maintenance contractor for the Okanagan failed to meet its sweeping target. (Submitted photo)

New Okanagan highway maintenance contractor fails to meet sweeping targets

Acciona failed to meet targets for several reasons, including not having full equipment fleet

The new highway maintenance contractor for the Okanagan will need to improve its service.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said it issued a non-compliance report to Acciona Infrastructure Maintenance (AIM) Inc. on May 24.

AIM was awarded a 10-year contract to conduct highway maintenance for the Okanagan-Shuswap and South Okanagan starting on April 1. However, due to reasons including not having a full complement of equipment, AIM failed to sweep all required numbered highways by the May 15 target.

As a result, the ministry required AIM to complete the road sweeping by an updated target of June 15 and submit a corrective action plan by July 1.

AIM failed to meet the updated target as well. Despite putting “extensive effort into completing sweeping work as quickly as possible,” a ministry representative said, some of the work has been extended beyond the June 15 date.

READ MORE: New highways maintenance contractor begins work April-May

AIM Roads operations director Greg Ehman said there are several reasons the company did not achieve its targets.

First, Ehman said there was significantly more winter sand left on the roads than anticipated.

“Due to the contract changeover, the previous contractor was not able to undertake as rigorous a sweeping program in March as they historically had performed,” Ehman said in an email. “This additional sweeping and quantity caused additional delays in our sweeping.”

He said the company also lost multiple days due to April storms and lost time after deciding to move machines from highways to rural subdivisions because they received “a high volume of stakeholder concerns” in those areas.

New machines AIM had ordered also failed to arrive by April 1, leaving the company without a full complement of equipment. Ehman attributed this to the fact that in 2018-2019, 26 of 28 highway maintenance contracts in B.C. were retendered, plus additional contracts in Alberta.

“This contract retendering process resulted in the majority of contractors renewing their fleet, causing in turn, a strain on equipment suppliers and resulting delays in equipment deliveries,” he said, adding that AIM tried to make up for the equipment delays by subcontracting local contractors that “have historically been sufficient to complete the sweeping program in the area.”

READ MORE: New highway maintenance contractor selected for Okanagan-Shuswap

According to the ministry, the company recently submitted its corrective action plan.

“The ministry is satisfied [AIM] has taken appropriate action to make up for the delays experienced this spring and moving forward will meet our high standards for road maintenance,” a representative said.

The plan to improve sweeping next season includes increased use of approved supplies; being able to start sweeping earlier without the contract changeover; deploying all new equipment as originally planned, and; adjusting shifts to double-shift sweeping equipment.

Asked if the company will be ready for colder weather, Ehman said they expect all equipment will be in place in advance of the winter.

“A significant portion of the winter equipment is in place with nearly all the outstanding equipment expected to arrive over the summer months,” he said.

Ehman also said a dedicated communications centre for the area will be up and running by August.

“Overall, we look forward to a smooth winter,” he said.

READ MORE: Public pans snow-clearing in Shuswap



karissa.gall@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Photos from Kelowna’s 39th annual Terry Fox Run

Residents of Kelowna took on cancer in the rain and had a blast.

Kelowna classroom where child allegedly overdosed re-opens after cleaning

An 8-year-old was unresponsive and unable to walk after ingesting an unknown substance at school.

Rockets lose to Blazers in nail-biting shootout

The Rockets came back to tie the game 2-2, but would ultimately lose in a nine-round shootout.

Okanagan brothers recognized with medals of bravery for saving four from drowning in 2013

The two brothers saved four from drowning after they were swept into the rough waters of Wood Lake.

Kelowna author releases 2nd book with stories of overcoming personal trauma

The launch for Diana Reyers’ Trauma to Recovery comes to Kelowna Sept. 21

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Video: Rain doesn’t deter Terry Fox runners in Salmon Arm

Dozens showed up to continue the Canadian icon’s marathon of hope.

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

Road block was costly legal battle for Summerland

Resolving Garnet Valley dispute took six years

Most Read