BCTA optimistic about LCV plan

PORT COQUITLAM, B.C. — The British Columbia Trucking Association has asked the province for the authority to operate long-combination vehicles on Hwy. 2 between the B.C.-Alberta border and the town of Dawson Creek, B.C., 41 kilometres away.

The association filed a proposal with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), which oversees trucking activity in the province, to conduct a 12-month test of Rocky Mountain Doubles in order to demonstrate their operating efficiency and safety performance, according to BCTA president Paul Landry.

He expects a response from the agency later this month.

The most efficient truck access to Dawson Creek, located in the northeast region of B.C., is from Alberta, where LCVs are allowed. Carriers using LCVs to bring cargo into the area must stop at the B.C. border, break up the vehicle combination, and then make two trips into the town. Between 65 and 70% of freight hauled into the Dawson Creek region originates there, Landry said.

The provincial government has resisted allowing LCVs in British Columbia for years, citing safety concerns. Business leaders in Dawson Creek have lobbied for LCVs because they say it would lower transportation costs.

The proposal addresses LCV impact on safety, the environment, the economy.

“We’ve put together a really thoughtful presentation, with very specific requirements for LCV operation,” Landry said. “We’ve said that we don’t see this as the thin edge of the wedge at all. There’s a special case to made here. It makes no sense to make two trips into that area when one will do.”

Generally, Landry said, the terms and conditions in the test would mirror those governing LCV use in Alberta. The BCTA plan outlines numerous permit conditions, including restrictions on speed (capped at 90 km/h) and operation during adverse road and weather conditions, and additional training for drivers.

Carriers also would not be permitted to transport bulk liquids, loads that sway or hang, or homogenous bulk commodities such as hay, wood chips, sawdust, or hog fuel.

The 12-month study would be evaluated on the basis of collisions and violations, regulatory complaince, and public complaints.

“If approved, we’d like to get going in January or February,” Landry said.

Among the companies that would participate are Canadian Freightways, Federated Co-operatives, Grimshaw Trucking, Byers Trucking, and Canadian Safeway.

The term Rocky Mountain Double describes a power unit pulling a 48-foot semitrailer and a second, shorter (24- to 30-foot) semitrailer coupled by an A- or C-dolly or B-train hitch. The configuration typically exceeds the current legal length allowance of 25 metres but not legal axle and gross weight limits.

Contact: BCTA, 604/942-3200.

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