Winter is just about over; days are getting longer. Night shift will start soon for my fellow logging truck drivers in and around the P.G. forest distict. I have been a truck driver for over 33 years. This has been the worst year for highways maintenance I have ever seen. I have been driving a logging truck this winter and have different hauls around P.G. I have traveled north to Bear Lake, east to McBride, south to Dunkley Lumber, and have heard from truckers hauling from the west. The only time the highways get properly sanded is when there is carnage or multiple vehicle accidents. Then you can set your watch; four hours later the highway is great to travel on. I am worried someone I know is going to die driving on the highways this winter.
We need safe highways. Especially when night shift starts soon. Thanks to Worksafe B.C. and the Central Interior Logging Association, I know that when I drive a hundred kilometres or more into the bush to get a load of logs:
1) there is a grader working to plow the snow and make it safe when it snows and is icy;
2) there is a sandtruck doing what they do all the time;
3) there is a speed limit of 60 kph.
I feel safe and sleep well, knowing that people are working on the bush roads to make them safe. But it's a different story on our public highways. It's not about the people running the contractors' equipment. They do what they are told to do. It's the management for the contractor and ministry that should be held accountable for the deaths and damage done on local highways.
The scariest part of my 14 hour day is when I have to drive on our public highways. There used to be a joke about how you could see the difference between the two different contractors' boundaries north of town at the doublewide turnaround. Now there is no difference; both are poorly maintained most of the time. It is time to address poor road maintenance in the north. If Christy Clark wants my vote, road conditions will have to improve. The Social Credit party used to pave roads to get votes. All I am asking for is sand when it is really cold and salt when necessary. Also a grader working when it is snowing a lot and is icy.
The bush roads are safer than our public highways. I write this letter in hopes of not having to attend a funeral and I ask my brother drivers to take up this issue of poor highway maintenance. We should all talk about it, phone about it, and write about it.