Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Road 40 - The story continues....

I'd like to wish you all a very Happy Holiday Season.  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  

Just a reminder Norm Verner, my SLRD alternate wants to retire.  The alternate fills in when I cannot attend due to scheduling issues, illness etc.  You DO get paid and all expenses covered.  My efforts on our board also now make it possible to attend meetings by phone.  You don't have to know much and I will help and support you knowing what you need to know.   Everyone on the SLRD Board is very kind to Alternates:-) in meetings. Please let me know if you "might" be interested.  

Road 40 - The story continues

Here is my last blog post link on this topic from September 6:  http://www.debbiedemare.com/2016/09/road-40-i-hope-everyone-has-had.html

On October 13, the meeting MLA Tegart put together was held.  Sal Demare, Scott Holden and myself attended the meeting. Unfortunately I can not say that any immediate concrete actions came that will change things on Road 40 came out of this meeting. District Manager did mentioned that they are looking at paving in the area as part of rehabilitation however that that would be subject to available budget and priorities.  

1    The key action item that came from this meeting was to establish a ‘Lillooet Rural Transportation Advisory Committee’ made up of relevant stakeholders to provide input to MOTI on matters related to rural roads including, but not limited to, maintenance, rehab and capital improvements.  "The Committee will recognize the importance of rural roads to provide safe, daily year-round access to communities, and to support local economic development. The Committee will develop short and long range capital plans for Road 40 in order to provide certainty for residents of the Bridge River Valley (Ron McCormack)" is how the MLA's office describes the purpose of the committee.

      On November 29, the first LRTAC committee meeting was held.  Sal Demare and I attended, as did the Chair of the SLRD Jack Cromption, the Mayor of Lillooet Marg Lampman, the Area B Director Mickey Macri, various MOTi, School District, RCMP, Commercial Vehicle Inspection officials and a representative from Aspen Planers. There was no Interior Roads official present.   This meeting lacked a clear focus and was not facilitated.  There was no agenda presented.  MOTi appears to be modeling this committee on other RTACs it has in other areas of the Cariboo Highways District and when I questioned, it seems in these other areas the issues discussed at RTAC meetings are very specific i.e. putting a bus stop in a specific location for safety.  This meeting was billed as a meeting to develop a Terms of Reference for the committee - however we were given that Terms of Reference at the beginning of the meeting and little if any discussion about the purpose of the committee occured until I started to questioning the gap between the description by the MLA of the purpose of the committee and what was happening in this meeting.   Here is a link to the documents we were provided:  Meeting Materials

      Following that meeting and after discussions between the SLRD Elected Representatives that attended, our SLRD Chair, Jack Crompton placed a call to MLA Tegart.  He basically communicated the same as I have in the above paragraph.  Our goal as the SLRD as a whole is to ensure there is signficant investments made in our area roads - Hwy 12 (paving, shoulders) and Road 40 (repaving 22 k stretch either side of Tyaughton Lake Rd. junction & improved maintenance) and the Highline Road. Pleased to see that the government has announced $60 million to provide long term fix for the 10 mile slide!  Awesome.    Our view is that the government must provide a larger investment, which the fix for the 10 mile slide is a terrific start,  more quickly as these roads have not had this nvestment over many years needed to keep them to appropriate standards.  The current condition of all these roads is impeding the status quo state of Lillooet, Gold Bridge, Bralorne, and everywhere in between and hampering the development and growth of these communities. And, as you all know, the safety of travelling on these roads is a very real concern for all of us.  

      My hope is that the LRTAC Committee and an additional potential "summit" between our SLRD Board of Directors, our MLA Tegart, the Minister of Transportation and senior ministry staff may net out in improvements to our infrastructure and an improved level of maintenance.  I want to say, that our MLA IS listening and trying to move this ball forward.  Full marks here.

.     Regular travellers on Road 40 are noticing an improvement in amount/timing of grading in the last two months, we hope this continues.  We are told, after a bunch of work on Sal's part digging this information out, that a paving machine is now stationed full time in Gold Bridge and that potholes will be filled year around.  This is a good thing given they are already returning on our favorite 22 km stretch of road.  Sal pursued red bump signs at either end of that 22km stretch so there is some warning to unsuspecting travellers.
      
       YOU NEED TO DO YOUR PART to keep our Road 40 on the top of everyone's mind.
             1. When you travel Rd. 40 and there are concerns such as potholes, poor grading, rocks or other hazards please go to www.interiorroads.com, click on feedback and fill in the Public Communication Record.  You can also call 1-800-842-4122.  Be specific and provide as much detail as possible.

           2. It is no good talking to each other or venting on Facebook about "near miss" accidents  as officials tell me our road 40 is safe because there are no statistics showing otherwise.  Near miss accidents need to be reported to the RCMP in Lillooet, again with as much detail and information as possible.  

           3.If after you have travelled this road you say to yourself, this road needs to be fixed. WRITE our MLA Jackie Tegart and copy your own home MLA, include the Minister of Transportation and copy me too.  Please don't spam them and launch off on partisan tirades, this does not help us achieve the repaving of the key section of road, be real and polite and specific. This is very very important to keep REAL communication happening.

       Email addresses:  Jackie.Tegart.MLA@leg.bc.ca  and Minister.Transportation@gov.bc.ca
   
       I think are goals for Road 40 are (in priority order):
       1. Ensure the maintenance of the road provides as safe a travelling experience as possible - this includes grading when the road needs it, filling potholes in a timely fashion, appropriate rock removal control, mowing in a timely fashion so travellers know where the edge of the road is, more ditching, more debris flow proactive management
      2. Repaving the road from 17km east of Tyaughton Lake Rd. junction to approx. 5 km west of same junction

      Please let me know if you have additions to this urgent/priority list or have different priorities than these two.


      











      






     




      There is much more to report on this topic and I will do more blogs over the next few weeks to catch everyone up both on this Road 40 issue and many other issues of interest and concern to our area.  I'd like to thank Sal Demare who has been following up on some specifics which helps me focus on the political aspects.   The proactive communication by MOTI and IRL beyond items like road closures and hazards reported on Drive BC,   with this community,  is very minimal.  Sal's work has at least surfaced some information which he and I will share and he continues to let them know the communication issues must be fixed.

      Finally, I want to say and continue to say, this ruckus over Road 40 in no way reflects on our local Interior Roads crew.  As you all know, this crew goes above and beyond in doing the best job possible based on the direction and resources they are given.  They have big hearts, great knowledge of our area and excellent skill sets about what they do.  Don't forget to say thank you to them and express your appreciation to these workers who take care of our roads every day.  




Photo: Michelle Nortje.  Lest we forget, Lillooet-Pioneer Rd. 40 is an absolutely spectacular trip that transverses climactic zones and where wildlife (including this eagle) abound.  Snow Geese, Swans, Mountain Sheep, Mountain Goats, Deer, Moose, Black Bears, Grizzlies, Wolves.  Pretty Typical to spot these on a trip in.  Lets remember what an asset this road is to the province and the Bridge River Valley.  Come on up, its an experience like no other.


     


















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