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B.C. forests ombudsman wants resource road safety addressed

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. -- The B.C. Forest Safety Council's (BCFSC) ombudsman has said the province's resource roads mu...

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — The B.C. Forest Safety Council’s (BCFSC) ombudsman has said the province’s resource roads must be enhanced in the interest of saving lives.

Ombudsman Roger Harris made the recommendations as part of the first independent comprehensive review of the province’s resource roads. The report comes after five of 12 fatalities in B.C.’s forest sector in 2007 occurred on resource roads.

Harris explained the roads have developed into a complex off-highway road network and it’s not clear who is responsible for maintaining them.

“It’s time something was done to fix this,” said Harris. “The death of log truck driver Joseph Leroux led to a coroner’s inquest last year which highlighted many problems surrounding resource roads.”

Harris suggested creating a Road Safety Maintenance Groups – bodies of stakeholders who would be responsible for managing individual resource road networks. There are 40,000 km of resource roads in B.C., many of them experiencing high volumes of commercial truck traffic. Under Harris’s proposal, the maintenance groups would be responsible for such things as: design; construction; maintenance; promoting safe driving practices; signage; driver education; and allocation of resources.

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