My husband and I were travelling home on the morning of Dec. 1 from Cranbrook and as soon as we hit the Elko tunnel, as usual, the weather changed as did the road conditions.
Much to our amazement at 11 am the highway had not been plowed.
We traveled slowly the rest of the way home and it wasn’t until we got into Fernie that the road conditions improved.
Just a few short hours after our trip there was a tragic accident that landed a mini van in the river leaving the mother of three young children dead.
Without the heroic actions of a young man and his girlfriend the consequences could have been much worse.
When The Free Press interviewed a witness to the accident he noted that the highway had not been plowed and there was a great deal of slush on the road.
He said that while the accident was being cleaned up a plow truck finally went through cleaning the slush off the highway.
It is his belief that if the highway had been plowed sooner, the accident never would have happened.
It happens every year at this time, after all we live in the Snow Valley, winter hits and the plows are not ready for it.
The company that currently has the contract has provided highway maintenance services for this area of the province since 2001. They should be prepared, yet at 2 pm on Dec. 1 the highway was still not plowed. It wasn’t snowing at the time of the accident; slush and snow had accumulated from earlier that morning.
The issue of highway conditions came up at Fernie City Council the week prior to the accident.
Mayor Mary Giuliano commented that she had heard complaints of dangerous highway conditions on Nov 22.
Councillor Randal Macnair concurred that the highways were in terrible shape near Fernie on that same day. Council resolved to write a letter to the highway maintenace company and the Ministry of Transportation voicing their concerns.
No one likes to point fingers when a tragedy like this happens but this is a public safety issue and we need to ask questions and get reasonable answers.
I saw it with my own eyes on Sunday. The roads were not plowed, the question is…why?