At a recent presentation to Ashcroft council, a representative from Dawson Road Maintenance — which clears snow from Highway 97C — confirmed that the goal is to have the sidewalk on the Ashcroft bridge (seen here during a classic car parade on June 13, 2020) cleared within 24 hours after a snowfall. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

At a recent presentation to Ashcroft council, a representative from Dawson Road Maintenance — which clears snow from Highway 97C — confirmed that the goal is to have the sidewalk on the Ashcroft bridge (seen here during a classic car parade on June 13, 2020) cleared within 24 hours after a snowfall. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

Ashcroft council hears update about area highway maintenance

Village is also debt-free after paying off its two outstanding long-term debts 15 years early

Road report

Dawson Maintenance has made changes to its winter road strategy following a surprise winter storm in October that dumped 30 centimetres of snow around Ashcroft and other parts of the South Cariboo.

“The storm wasn’t even forecast. It was tremendous, out of the blue unforecast, ‘wow, hey it’s winter,’” David Rhodes of Dawson Group told Ashcroft council earlier this month. “I’m sure many of you received calls on that. We had to change and adjust our strategy and approach.”

Rhodes said the company has set up three main brining yards — in Clinton, Lillooet, and 100 Mile House —where crews can mix brine. A thin layer of the salt brine is used to pre-treat the highways to prevent the snow from bonding to the road, providing greater traction.

Each brine yard also has a brine truck with the capacity to cover 120 kilometres of road, while newer and more “powerful” plow-wing trucks have also been added to the Ashcroft and Clinton fleets to provide more sanding capacity, he said. The trucks can now fill up at Ashcroft Indian band with sand, plow to the Highland Valley copper mine, and sand all the way back without running out of material.

The group has also changed its shift crews, with two primary shifts and two bridge shifts working four days on and three off. Crews will start earlier, at 5 a.m. ahead of all of the buses, and overlap coverage throughout the day.

Mayor Barbara Roden questioned how Dawson intends to deal with the Ashcroft Bridge this winter, noting the village received a lot of calls following the October snowstorm. The bridge, on Highway 97C, is a major corridor for people coming from north Ashcroft into downtown on mobility scooters.

While the village clears the pedestrian sidewalks, Dawson is responsible for keeping the bridge deck and sidewalks clear.

He said the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has a specification for virtually every part of its infrastructure and is pretty clear on how it wants to approach winter maintenance. Major A-classed highways with the most traffic, like the Trans-Canada and Highway 97, take priority for clearance, he said, followed by B-class roads like the Sea to Sky or Highway 97C, which must be cleared within 24 hours.

“From their perspective, 10,000 vehicles a day up and down the Trans-Canada or Cariboo Highway compared to 2,000 down lesser roads … they’re saying pedestrian access areas have a 24-hour response time,” Rhodes said.

“I know from my own experience 24 hours is a light-year when there’s snow on the sidewalk. Ultimately what has to happen is the local area foreman has to delegate resources in there.”

The winter storm came on the heels of other challenges this past year, including the pandemic and spring freshet and heavy rains that washed out roads and put “an incredible amount of risk at some of the bridges” in the area, including one at the north end of the Bonaparte Reserve.

At one point last summer, the company was dealing with 60 active sites, with nine roads closed in the South Cariboo, which is “pretty dramatic,” Rhodes said. A washout at Loon Lake, for instance, isolated more than 300 people. Although the organization “had to really stretch” to bring in enough people to meet the challenges, Rhodes said overall they were able to manage those sites really well.

Good year for Ashcroft

Despite COVID-19, the Village of Ashcroft stayed safe and kept busy during 2020.

In her year-end report, Mayor Barbara Roden noted the village was able to keep valued facilities such as the pool and the museum open despite the pandemic, while also holding the line on tax increases, rather than an anticipated 2.5 per cent boost previously agreed upon. The village was also able to pay off its outstanding debt of $1.3 million — for the water treatment plant and the primary fire engine—15 years earlier than planned, meaning Ashcroft is debt-free.

Looking ahead, the village learned that it would be receiving two level-two electric vehicle charging stations through the Charge North initiative, with the stations to be installed in 2021, as well as grant funding for two long-anticipated projects: replacement of lift station 1 in North Ashcroft and a new hot tub for the pool.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Just Posted

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are seen being prepared on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Hundreds of children, ages 12 to 15, received the Pfizer vaccine at the DeKalb Pediatric Center, just days after it was approved for use within their age group. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
One death, 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The death is connected to the outbreak at Spring Valley long-term care in Kelowna

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
One death, 39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 484 active cases of the virus in the region currently

Kelly Servinski, of the Tutti Hotel in Clinton, climbs above the river. (Photo credit:
Gravel is the new gold: Cyclist bumps new biking trend

There’s gravel in them thar hills around Clinton

Amy Newman follows the route of the Cariboo Waggon Road — now Highway 97 — through Clinton. (Photo credit: New Pathways to Gold Society)
Grant received for Cariboo Waggon Road restoration project north of Clinton

New Pathways to Gold hopes to start work this summer on restoring sections of historic road

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardener finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

Most Read