Road preparations underway for winter weather on South Island

Road preparations underway for winter weather on South Island
Emcon Services Inc. - South Island Division/Twitter

On Thursday morning, EMCON’s salt and sand trucks were getting ready for the incoming arctic outflow.

“Cold temperatures overnight, we’re going to have three centimetres overnight,” said Stewart Westwood, EMCON Services South Island. “We’re hoping it will all blow off.”

As the morning sun turned to sleet midday in Mill Bay and the temperatures drop, the South Island road maintenance crews gear up.

READ MORE: ‘Roads are slippery’: Arctic outflow brings cold snap to Vancouver Island

At its Malahat base, EMCON, which services Mount Sicker to BC Ferries, the Gulf Islands and all the way to Port Renfrew, is preparing its sand, which is pre-treated in a salty brine, so when it hits the road it’ll melt and adhere to the pavement.

“Salt is less effective after minus six, so we’re going to keep that in mind overnight,” said Westwood.

Overnight, the low on the Malahat is supposed to reach -10 C.

Environment Canada is warning of quickly accumulating snow in very localized areas between Goldstream and Fanny Bay.

Commuters hitting the roads Thursday night and Friday morning are being warned of driving conditions.

“Nobody has to drive in this, so if you’re inexperienced and not comfortable driving in this, stay home or make alternative arrangements,” said Kate Harris, CEO of DriveWise.

If you do have to drive, Harris says make sure your car is set for survival:

  • Have sand, salt or even cat litter to throw under your tires for grip
  • Use winter tires
  • Food and water in case you get stuck
  • Always have at least a half tank of gas
  • Have a blanket, winter clothes and boots
  • Full tank of windshield wiper fluid

If the roads are slick, Harris says slow down and drive to the road conditions.

“If you find yourself in a dangerous situation like a slide or a skid, don’t do anything harsh. No harsh braking. In fact just take your foot right off the accelerator and steer in the direction that you’re wanting to go,” said Harris.

It looks this arctic outflow is going to press on.

“Long range forecast is for snow early next week,” said Westwood.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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