B.C. government highlights initiatives aimed at improving conditions for trucking industry

KELOWNA, B.C. – B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure provided an update on a slew of initiatives across the province recently, including the Weight2GoBC bypass program.

Issuing over 1.2 million ‘green lights’ for carriers to bypass weigh stations thus far, Renee Mounteney, assistant deputy minister for the ministry, said the program not only helps B.C. carriers be more efficient, but also has a positive impact on the environment.

Weigh2GoBC has provided enforcement officers with a tool to better focus on vehicles in need of assistance and not waste time on those operating under full compliance.

The program could be linked to other similar efforts across the country in the future, such as Alberta’s Drivewyze program.

Mounteney, who was speaking during the B.C. Trucking Association’s AGM and Management Conference in Kelowna, B.C., June 1, highlighted several other initiatives the province has taken to make life better for the trucking industry.

Improving the condition of provincial highways was one, an effort that includes upgrades to Hwy 91/11 and DeltaPort Way, as well as the Pattullo Bridge, one of the oldest bridges in Vancouver and 30 years past its life expectancy.

Providing more real-time updates on the conditions of B.C. highways is another area where improvements are being made.

Mounteney said in addition to the Shift into Winter and 511 sources, Wi-Fi is being installed or improved at 11 rest areas on the South Coast, 13 in the Southern Interior, and another 11 in the northern region. These upgrades will help travelers and truck drivers get faster, more reliable information on current road conditions.

Weather stations and overhead message signs displaying road conditions are also being increased. In all, 76 roadside weather stations, 61 remote automated weather stations, and 88 frost probes will help improve highway information to motorists.

The pilot project restricting commercial trucks from the left lane on the Coquihalla Highway’s Snowshed Hill is going well, according to Mounteney, as it is alleviating highway blockages should trucks struggle to get up the hill during adverse weather conditions. The pilot will continue for the next two years as data is collected to determine if similar restrictions should be placed on other B.C. highways.

Winter chain-up requirements have been extended on some highways in the province, running from Oct. 1 to April 30.

There is also an upgrade being done to the Box Canyon chain-up area which will increase its vehicle capacity five times. The area sees around 11,800 vehicles pass by each day, with 29% being commercial trucks.

Increased use of single wide-base tires, the ongoing effort on a provincial mandatory entry-level driver training program, CleanBC (an initiative to reduce commercial vehicle emissions through an incentive program), and the development of a new commercial vehicle safety enforcement strategic plan were also on Mounteney’s list of ongoing efforts the province is undertaking.

Highway maintenance will see an improvement under the newly approved agreement. Some of the changes include increased road patrols, better communication with media and the public, and returning roads to bare pavement within 24 hours after a weather event, compared to the previous standard of 48 hours.

With approximately 34,000 carriers in B.C., Mounteney said she expects the number will continue to rise as it has in the past at a rate of 8%-10% each year.

“It’s good to see this industry continues to grow,” she said, adding that in 2017, $37.9 billion of goods was moved by road for exports and imports in the province. “With some of the more remote areas, (trucking) is the only game in town.”

Renee Mounteney.

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A university graduate with a degree in English, I have worked in the media and trucking industries as a writer, editor, and now as western bureau chief of Today's Trucking and TruckNews.com. I have several years of management experience in journalism, as well as hospitality, but am first and foremost a writer, both professionally and in my personal life, having completed two fiction novels.

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