Lack of appropriate tires on vehicles continues to cause headaches for those who service the Malahat and try to ensure safety for motorists using the route.
Reflecting on Monday’s chaotic scenario, when snow and icy conditions caused multiple vehicles of all sizes to go off the road and shut movement down for a stretch, the man in charge of road maintenance took stock of the situation.
“The main problem was drivers that were not equipped to drive to conditions,” Emcon Services operations manager Andrew Gaetz told Black Press Media. “Many, many vehicles spun out and were abandoned, which impaired our ability to plow/sand/salt.”
With the clear, cool mid-week weather predicted to give way to milder temperatures and rain through the holiday weekend – only Sunday night is forecast to get down to 0 C – conditions are expected to improve in the short term.
Looking back on what could have been done better Monday, and with an eye to future situations when conditions deteriorate, Gaetz said establishing chain-up/tire check stations early, with B.C. commercial vehicle safety and enforcement (CVSE) officers present, would have helped.
“We did make an attempt at this, but we were too late,” he said. “If we had implemented sooner we could have turned around many drivers who were not equipped to drive in the conditions on the Malahat.”
Posted requirements on the Malahat between Oct. 1 and April 30 call for winter tires on passenger vehicles (mud and snow, M+S); commercial vehicles and buses weighing less than 11,794 kilograms must have winter tires or have chains on hand, and carrying tire chains is mandatory for large commercial vehicles over 11,794 kg.
Current conditions on the Malahat can be viewed anytime online on the BC Highway Cams at drivebc.ca.