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Driving safe in the Elk Valley over Christmas
By Annalee Grant
Mainroad East Kootenay is out in force on the region's road, and they are encouraging motorists to take care this holiday season.
Jim Conley, general manager for Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting, said weather can be unpredictable in the Kootenays, and drivers need to be prepared just like the staff at Mainroad are.
"We know the importance of having our drivers and equipment ready because in a couple of hours we can go from clear sky to blizzard in the East Kootenays," Conley said. "We're working with the public to make sure everybody gets home safe; we treat these roads as ours because we know they're yours."
Mainroad is encouraging riders to check out www.drivebc.ca before they head out this season. The website has current driving conditions and weather forecasts. It even has webcams of popular routes that can help better inform you before heading out.
Conley said safety is key for their drivers when they're out clearing roads. He encourages drivers to give them a wide birth and being patient.
"Help our crews by maintaining a safe following distance when approaching highway maintenance vehicles," he said. "When you attempt to pass, you put yourself, the truck operator, and the driving public at risk."
Mainroad sends out a full complement of winter operators after every snowfall, plus mechanical support for every shift until the job is done. The drivers have access to three different materials – winter sand, salt brine and salt – to make the roads safer, and they use them based on the conditions at the time. The materials are stored throughout the region Mainroad services in nine different depots.
Mainroad has a 24-hour hotline for reporting accidents, unsafe road conditions and road kill by calling 1-800-665-4929. They encourage drivers to use it. The service area stretches from Brisco in the north, to Goatfel in the west, the Alberta border in the east and the U.S. border.
To keep up with Mainroad and their activities this winter, visit their Twitter feed for updaters, @MainroadEastK. they also encourage drivers to visit www.shiftintowinter.ca for tips on winter driving safety.