By Ezra Black
Following recent criticism of Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting’s response to winter maintenance, Mainroad Group’s President and CEO, Peter Ashcroft, travelled to Cranbrook last week to review East Kootenay winter operations and to meet with the Ministry of Transportation and local stakeholders.
During the weeklong visit, Ashcroft reviewed the winter operations and gained an understanding of the issues facing the Mainroad team.
In a Dec. 21 statement, Mainroad said it has re-structured its operations to meet new service requirements since receiving the new $16.7 million annual winter maintenance contract in April.
Ashcroft said Mainroad made significant investments in new maintenance yards and a new fleet of trucks exceeding $10 million. Despite the investment he admitted Mainroad has faced “mobilization issues.”
“Even though we are the incumbent contractor, there are many changes to the new contract and our operations to satisfy that contract. With that comes a lot of moving parts to manage and even with the best laid plans there are always things that are unforeseen and don’t go as expected. Many of the mobilization issues are now solved and I apologize to those people affected,” said Ashcroft in a statement.
“With these issues, there may be a misconception by a few members of the public that now that we have renewed the contract for the next seven years, we can take the foot off the gas and pull back on service levels to minimize cost. Let me assure everyone that Mainroad is committed to serving the East Kootenay travelling public,” he continued.
In early December, MLA Bill Bennett called out Mainroad East Kootenay for failing to keep area roads free of ice and snow.
“The contractor apparently failed to have enough de-icing chemical on hand and that was the root of much of the problems but there were other examples of poor performance, such as not clearing snow quickly enough,” said Bennett in a statement.
In securing the new contract, Mainroad is responsible to meet updated specifications for snow and ice control. These contract specifications can be viewed at http://tranbc.ca/2016/12/14/everything-you-need-to-know-about-east-kootenay-highway-winter-maintenance-specifications/
“The East Kootenay Highways maintenance contract is extremely important to Mainroad and I really appreciate and thank the public for all their support, we are determined to satisfy our obligations and we’re here for the long haul,” said Ashcroft.