Merritt mayor to meet with Transportation Minister over highway maintenance

By Chad Klassen
February 27, 2018 - 6:12pm Updated: February 28, 2018 - 8:06am

KAMLOOPS — Two days after a horrific six-vehicle crash on the Coquihalla that sent 29 people to hospital, the mayor of Merritt is meeting with the new transporation minister to speak about safety improvements on the dangerous highway. 

Neil Menard is travelling to Victoria to meet with Claire Trevena on Wednesday. He was not surprised when he read the news of the crash near hope on Sunday evening. He said it should be a wake-up call for all maintenance contractors responsible for keeping the Coquihalla clear and safe, including the one closest to Merritt VSA, which Menard hasn't been pleased with. 

"We wanted to make sure she hears our message in reference to any of the contractors. Our contractors seems to be the worst. But any of the contractors that are in mountainous roads, and in B.C. where don't we have mountainous roads?" said Menard.

"They have to be good contractors. They have to work at getting snow off, having black pavement to drive on. The speed corridor, they need to do something there. They have to lessen the speed in the winter time. Truckers have got to learn how to put their chains gone, know how to use their chains. They should have proper chains, not garbage chains."

Menard hopes to get through the new highways minister after years of lobbying for better maintenance and safety. He feels strongly that VSA is not meeting the standards in its contract with the province. 

"It's not up to par. The workers do a good job, they do what they're told. But we think, and from the information that we have, they're not doing the maintenance their contract says they're supposed to do," Menard said. "We think they're cutting a lot of corners and it's not acceptable. That highway is a dangerous highway. They should be going above and beyond to make sure it's a safe trip for everybody."

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